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Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

15.07.10: Macedonia name dispute inspires exotic idea - 1 views

  • A renowned research institute has suggested that Macedonia change its name to an agreed formula on the day of its EU accession as a means of resolving its ongoing dispute with Greece. As exotic as this may seem, the proposal has already triggered interest and debate in regional media.
  • The proposal, signed by ESI President Gerald Knaus, has triggered a lot of interest and debate in regional media, the institute notes in a press release circulated yesterday (12 July).
  • While most Europeans find the Greek position puzzling or irrational, the prevailing political thinking in many capitals is that the EU enlargement process should be slowed down, the ESI paper notes. In this context, the fact that Macedonia's EU bid is stuck is even welcome, the institute claims. Gerald Knaus is categorical in saying that if a compromise between Skopje and Athens is reached, then a referendum in Macedonia will be called. But the Macedonian politicians who may be ready to make concessions over the country's name would do so only on the condition that it would actually ensure the country's EU accession, the ESI director argues. To "square the circle," the ESI suggests making a constitutional amendment in Skopje that changes the country's name now, allowing Athens to support the start of EU accession talks later this year. But the amendment would only foresee the change's entry into force on the day Macedonia actually joins the EU. The proposed constitutional change could read: "All references to the Republic of Macedonia in this constitution will be replaced by a reference to XX (a compromise name) on the day this country joins the European Union." If for some reason Skopje never joins the EU, it will never have to change its name, the ESI paper reads. Knaus also argues that the proposed solution would allow both countries and their leaders to claim victory. In parallel, Greece should promise to allow Macedonia to join NATO under the name FYROM (the name under which Macedonia joined the UN) once the constitutional changes have been passed, he says.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

European Commission - Enlargement - Newsletter - 0 views

  • In this issue Enlargement high on EU agenda for 2008 too Mixed reception for Albanian local elections Turkey's pension reform is "in the right direction" Strategy for civil society in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia EU support for upgrading Albania’s civil registration Helping Bosnia and Herzegovina in communications regulation Serbian wine sector gets EU assistance Discussions start in Vienna on Kosovo settlement proposal Cooperation in south east Europe border security Croatia in media freedom spotlight Student grant database for South-East Europe Positive prospects for Turkey and Western Balkans
  • In this issue > Croatia's progress measured at SAA Council Wallström visits Turkey for Women's Day EU awaits Serbia's new government Kosovo status discussions to move to New York Bosnia and Herzegovina to remain under surveillance Montenegro comes closer to EU EU assistance to Albanian justice system Improving policing of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Hopes of Cyprus breakthrough from a breach in a wall Rehn reminds the EU of its power to act EU foreign affairs ministers extend backing for ICTY "Boost EU commitment to Western Balkans", says paper Stability Pact successor takes shape EU Presidency comments on the ICJ Balkan genocide judgement
  • EU summit backs enlargement strategy European Union leaders gave their full backing to the enlargement strategy at their summit in Brussels on December 14. They looked forward to further rounds of accession negotiations with Turkey and Croatia before the end of the year. They confirmed the EU's vital role in assuring stability in the Western Balkans, and agreed to send an ESDP mission to Kosovo. And they agreed precise terms for the reflection group on the long-term future of Europe. This final issue for 2007 of Enlargement News provides highlights from the European Council, as well an update on other key enlargement-related developments. In this issue Endorsement for the enlargement strategy EU willing to send mission to Kosovo Progress on Turkey's accession negotiations Western Balkans "belong in the EU" Serbia invited to make "rapid progress" to EU Croatia "on track" towards EU membership SAA initialled with Bosnia and Herzegovina Albania makes progress, but governance and rule of law require further efforts The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia must accelerate the pace of reform Montenegro entering "critical phase" Limited remit for Reflection Group EU allocates pre-accession assistance to candidate countries Rehn contrasts past and present of EU foreign and security policy Turkish Students win trip to EU
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  • In this issue Bright future for enlargement, says Rehn Presidency highlights enlargement in EP debate New political cooperation agreement with Serbia to be signed EU reaffirms commitments to Kosovo Focusing on local democracy in Croatia Prospects good for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia "No doomsday" for Bosnia and Herzegovina, says Rehn Montenegro signs up to EU research programme Further moves envisaged on Western Balkans visas Rehn underlines momentum in Turkey talks
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

10.09.10: Macedonia name dispute: Time to decide, says Barroso - 0 views

  • European Commission President José Manuel Barroso urged Macedonia and Greece to resolve once and for all their twenty-year dispute over the EU hopeful's name after meeting Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov in Brussels yesterday (9 September).
  • Greece views the official name used by Skopje – the Republic of Macedonia – as an open challenge to its own region of Macedonia and, as a result, is blocking the country's EU accession talks and its entry into NATO (see EurActiv LinksDossier). "I understand the extreme sensitivities of this issue, but I call on all sides to resolve this obstacle as quickly as possible. It's time to decide. We believe now it is time to decide on this issue of the name," stated Barroso. Since November 2009, Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and his Greek counterpart George Papandreou have been holding direct talks, with UN mediation, in an attempt to break the deadlock. Seemingly, progress has been made.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

12.03.09: MEPs urge EU to decide on Macedonia accession talks - 0 views

  • MEPs adopted a resolution on Thursday (12 March) calling on member states to set a date for opening accession talks with Macedonia this year. In a resolution adopted by MEPs with 478 votes in favour and 92 against, the European Parliament said it "regrets …that, three years after it [Macedonia] was granted the status of candidate for membership of the EU, accession negotiations have not yet started, which is an unsustainable situation having demotivating effects for the country, and risks destabilising the region."
  • Macedonia was granted the status of EU candidate in December 2005, but accession talks have not been opened ever since, mainly due to Greece. Athens has refused to recognise its neighbour's constitutional name - the Republic of Macedonia - since it declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.
  • EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn stressed that "free and fair" presidential and local elections later this month and in April would be a key condition for Macedonia to be allowed to start accession talks, after violent incidents marked last year's general elections. "I share [MEPs'] regret that, three years after the country achieved candidate status, accession negotiations have not yet started," Mr Rehn said in the parliament's plenary in Strasbourg on Wednesday.
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  • MEPs also approved a Croatia resolution "deeply regretting that [Croatia's] accession negotiations have been effectively blocked for a considerable time because of bilateral issues."
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

16.06.10: Macedonia to add 'Vardar' to its name | EurActiv - 0 views

  • According to reports, Macedonia is close to finding a formula to defuse its long-standing name dispute with Greece, which has prevented the former Yugoslav republic from starting EU accession talks and has kept it outside the NATO alliance.
  • However, it remains to be seen whether Skopje will agree to use its new name erga omnes – meaning in the country's "relations with everyone". So far, Skopje has insisted that the name Macedonia could be kept "for internal use" and that countries which have recognised Macedonia with its constitutional name would continue to use it.It also remains unclear whether Macedonian citizens could continue to be referred to as 'Macedonians' or 'Macedonians of Vardar' instead. A 'dual use' would help Skopje avoid having to amend its constitution and change all its national documents, including passports. Greece does not recognise Macedonian passports and until recently issued visas to their nationals on a separate sheet of paper.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

09.12.08: France Warns Macedonia over 'Name Row" - 0 views

  • Even if Macedonia meets all the necessary reform requirements, Skopje cannot progress in its EU bid unless the 'name row' with Greece is solved, France has warned.
  • Despite acknowledging the fact that the country has met many criteria to move forward, and the Enlargement’s Commissioner’s evaluation that Macedonia has “plenty of potential to advance in EU integration,” Brussels decision-makers warn again that this could be overshadowed by the political unwillingness of EU member states.
  • Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, reiterated that the Commission had presented benchmarks this spring as a criteria that has to be fulfilled before Macedonia starts accession talks with the bloc.“But in meantime, it is true that the EU Council functions on the basis of unanimity and this is also the essential factor concerning the decision on opening accession talks with FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia),” Rehn said.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

18.11.08: Athens and Macedonia in UN ourt over name dispute - 0 views

  • Athens on Tuesday (18 November) strongly criticised Skopje's decision to file a complaint against Greece with the International Court of Justice (IJC), and accused it of hindering the process of finding a solution to the "name issue" that has been poisoning relations for 17 years.
  • On Monday, EU membership candidate Macedonia started legal proceedings against Greece at the ICJ, accusing the country of not complying with its international obligations at a NATO summit held in Bucharest earlier this year, when it blocked an invitation to Skopje to join the organisation because of the unresolved name dispute between them.
  • Greece has been refusing to recognise its neighbour's constitutional name - the Republic of Macedonia - since it declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 as a northern region in Greece is also called Macedonia and Athens fears allowing Skopje to use the name will open the way to territorial claims. It also believes the name is part of its own historical heritage. But under Article 11 of the UN Interim Agreement signed between them in 1995, Athens has committed not to object to Skopje's application to join any "international, multilateral and regional organisations and institutions" of which Greece is part, provided that it applies under the provisional name foreseen in the deal – Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

06.11.08: Western Balkans still way off EU entry criteria - 0 views

  • EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn made clear yesterday (5 November) that Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Kosovo, are still a long way away from getting clear persprectives of EU accession.
  • In spite of the EU executive's insistence that its assessments are based on objective criteria, the countries in the region are increasingly aware that enlargement is no longer fashionable in the EU, especially in the context of the current financial crisis and uncertainty following the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty by Ireland.  European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering said on Tuesday that "perhaps with the exception of Croatia," no enlargement was possible without the Lisbon Treaty. This statement contradicts strong views, expressed repeatedly by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, that no enlargement whatsoever was possible before the Lisbon Treaty comes into force (EurActiv 20/06/08). In fact, the Nice Treaty provides institutional arrangements for only 27 member states, but some countries believe that it may be possible to find a compromise to accommodate Croatia. 
  • Links European Union European Commission: Enlargement strategy and main challenges 2008-2009 European Commission: Key findings of the progress reports on the candidate countries: Croatia, Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: European Commission: Key findings of the progress reports on Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Kosovo European Commission: 2009 the year of the Western Balkans European Commission: Croatia 2008 Progress report European Commission: The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 2008 Progress report European Commission: Albania 2008 Progress report European Commission: Bosnia and Herzegovina 2008 Progress report European Commission: Montenegro 2008 Progress report European Commission: Serbia 2008 Progress report European Commission: Kosovo (under UNSR 1244/99) 2008 Progress report
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

23.06.08: Macedonia PM attacks Greece - 0 views

  • Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski attacked Greece for demonstrating "power" and "arrogance" over the infamous 'name dispute' following a disappointing EU summit for Skopje last week.
  • Background: In April, Athens vetoed Skopje's invitation to join NATO, arguing the name 'Macedonia' could lead Skopje to make territorial claims over Greece's own northern province of the same name.  A nationalist backlash followed in the small country of 2.5 million, which US former assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrook famously called "a hole in the middle of nothing".  Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski decided to ride on this wave and called for early elections. Macedonian legislators have ignored warnings from leading MEPs that early elections would threaten the country's EU accession (EurActiv 14/04/08). Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn warned in the meantime that the unresolved 'name dispute' with Greece could negatively affect Macedonia's EU agenda. 
  • The EU summit conclusions, adopted by European heads of state and government on 20 June, did not specifically mention that Macedonia would begin EU accession talks in 2008, to the disappointment of the small Balkan republic. 
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  • In an interview with the Macedonian Information Agency, Gruevski downplayed concerns expressed in the Macedonian media over the Council conclusions. Instead, he accused his Greek counterpart Costas Karamanlis of not intending to close the name dispute in the near future. He warned that in the current UN-sponsored negotiations, Greece has no intention whatsoever of moving forward. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

21.05.09: Macedonia counts on EU help in dispute with Greece - 0 views

  • The Prime Minister of Macedonia, Nikola Gruevski, met with Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday (May 15) at the Elysee Palace, after visiting Brussels two days earlier. The key goal is visa abolition for this small landlocked country of 2 million people. Macedonia is proud of its achievements in becoming a leader in the region considering the matter. "We have met all the conditions in order the European Commission to propose visa liberalisation, Gruevski tells Le Monde. The decision should be reached in late autumn. Hopefully, as of Jan. 1 2010, our citizens will freely travel the Schengen zone." According to officials in Skopje, over 450.000 biometric passports have been already issued.
  • At NATO Summit in Bucharest last April, Greece vetoed Macedonia’s accession to the Alliance. The country was admitted in the UN in 1993 under the interim reference – The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. In November of 2008, Skopje filed a motion before the International Court of Justice in The Hague. "Greece does not only want for us to change our name, but also the passports, Constitution, naming of our language, our identity," Mr Gruevski says. In order to lift the Greek obstacle, the Premier believes that Brussels should influence on its member country. “Macedonia is not sufficiently powerful to deal with this alone, he says. That is why we are in Paris. We need support, but ask for nothing we haven’t deserv
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

16.11.09: Regional fallout from Macedonia name dispute - 0 views

  • Media reports citing unidentified senior sources in Brussels are claiming that the European Commission is to urge Athens and Skopje to come up with a solution to the dispute about the use of the name Macedonia by December 7 2009 – failing which Macedonia may find its hopes for an early start to EU membership talks receding. Macedonian foreign minister Antonio Milososki has written to European Union foreign ministers urging them to support the opening of EU membership negotiations with his country. He cited the European Commission’s recommendation to this effect. "The opening of negotiations with the Republic of Macedonia would substantively encourage the other countries in the region to further pursue pre-accession reforms and it will furthermore confirm the credibility of the EU’s enlargement policy," Milososki said in the letter
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

05.11.10: EU enlargement reports reveal mixed progress for Balkan states - 0 views

  • The European Commission's latest progress reports on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo and Macedonia have revealed wide variation between these neighbouring Balkan states and mixed progress towards EU accession requirements.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Poor governance
  • The governance of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is one of the most complex problems facing the Balkan region, according to the European Commission's latest progress report on the country.
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  • Croatia: Praise for anti-corruption and competition policy Compared to its hefty critique of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the commission's assessment of Croatia is much more encouraging. The country made "steady progress" towards meeting the remaining criteria needed to conclude the accession talks that began five years ago. However, the commission does not give a target date for accession.
  • Kosovo: Weak judiciary and lack of media freedom Kosovo is reported to have made progress on meeting political criteria and decentralisation has improved. Even though there has been some progress towards eliminating corruption and organised crime, Kosovo continues to suffer from these problems. The commission has mainly expressed disappointment about the state of Kosovo's judicial system and the lack of media freedom – the judiciary remains weak and the appointment of judges is politically influenced.
  • Macedonia: Unsteady progress and paralysed by naming row Macedonia fulfils the political criteria for EU membership but has made "uneven" progress with reforms during the last year, the commission report on the country concludes. In 2009, Macedonia had been praised for its reforms, prompting Brussels to recommend the start of accession talks with the EU. Negotiations were then blocked by Greece because of the unresolved name dispute between the two countries. This year, the commission is more critical but does not revoke last year's opinion on the start of accession talks.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

30.10.08: EU to warn Bosnia. Macedonia - still no date for opening EU accession taliks - 0 views

  • In a report on the western Balkan countries' progress towards the EU that the European Commission will present next week, Brussels will reiterate a warning it expressed earlier about Bosnia and Herzegovina's political instability and the lack of reform in the country. "Constitutional elements established by the Dayton/Paris peace agreement [which ended the 1992 – 1995 war in Bosnia] have been challenged by key political leaders in both entities" of Bosnia – the Serb-populated Republika Srpska and the federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • "The lack of consensus on the main features of state building… and [the] inflammatory rhetoric have adversely affected the functioning of institutions and have slowed down reform" in the country, reads the draft of the document seen by the EUobserver.
  • Macedonia – still no date for opening EU talks For its part, EU candidate Macedonia is to be disappointed yet another time, as it will again not be offered a date to open membership talks with the bloc. "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has made some progress in the course of the last year but does not yet meet the political criteria," according to the commission. "The parliamentary elections of 2008 did not meet key international standards and the recommendations of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights remain to be addressed. The lack of constructive political dialogue between major political parties and actors adversely affected the functioning of the political institutions," it goes on.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

International Crisis Group - Europe Briefing No 52 (12.01.09): Macedonia's Name: Break... - 0 views

  • Macedonia is a relative success story in a region scarred by unresolved statehood and territory issues. International engagement has, since the 2001 conflict with an ethnic Albanian insurgency, brought progress in integrating Albanians into political life. This has been underpinned by the promise of European Union (EU) and NATO integration, goals that unite ethnic Macedonians and Albanians. But the main NATO/EU strategy for stabilising Macedonia and the region via enlargement was derailed in 2008 by the dispute with Greece over the country’s name. Athens claims that, by calling itself “Macedonia”, it appropriates part of the Hellenic heritage and implies a claim against Greece’s northern province. At summits it blocked Macedonian membership in NATO and EU accession talks until the issue is settled. Mystifying to outsiders, the dispute touches existential nerves, especially in Macedonia, and has serious regional implications. The parties need to rebuild trust; member states need to press both to compromise, especially Greece to respect its commitment not to block Skopje in international organisations.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

24.04.08: Macedonia rebuked over 'hate speech' - 0 views

  • The European Parliament has urged Macedonia to solve the 'name dispute' with Greece, warning the small country against a resurgence of "hate speech" in its media with respect to neighbouring countries.
  • The European Parliament report, adopted on April 23 with 601 votes in favour and 52 against (30 abstentions), represents a victory for Greece. Indeed, the text calls on "both sides to seize the opportunity to resume negotiations immediately […] so that the issue does not continue to represent an obstacle to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's membership of international organisations". 
  • Following the setback at the NATO summit in Bucharest in early April, when Macedonia did not obtain an invitation to join the Alliance due to the unresolved "name dispute" with Greece, the Macedonian press depicted its neighbour in a style reminiscent of the Cold War (EurActiv 04/04/08). Moreover, the Macedonian press traditionally projects a very negative image of Bulgaria - again reminiscent of Tito's Yugoslavia, when Belgrade had a hostile policy towards Bulgaria. The amendment warning against "hate speech" was introduced by Bulgarian MEP Nickolay Mladenov (EPP-ED) and supported by his compatriot Evgeni Kirilov (PES). 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

22.10.09: EC recommends Macedonia start EU negotiations ( - 0 views

  • EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn presented in Brussels last Wednesday the new European Commission (EC) report on Macedonia, assessing the country's progress towards kick-starting its EU membership negotiations. "Now we can recommend the opening of negotiations for membership", said Rehn. The positive recommendation comes after the EC said Macedonia "has made satisfactory progress in fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria", according to Rehn. Macedonia "achieved convincing progress and substantively addressed key reform priorities".
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

20.06.11: Füle shows Macedonia yellow card - 31 views

    In an unprecedented move, Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle has warned Macedonia that the country could lose its EU candidate status if no progress is made on the path to reform and if the EU hopeful keeps on taking actions considered by Greece as "provocations".

    The warning came in a TV interview given by Füle to Macedonian TV channel A1, one of the few media outlets with a critical voice and which the government is reportedly trying to silence.

    Füle was asked to comment on the decision by Nikola Gruevski's government to erect a statue of a 'warrior on horseback' resembling Alexander the Great in the centre of Skopje, which has sparked fury in Greece. Over the weekend, the 12-meter high statue was finally assembled.

    The commissioner said that not only in bilateral affairs, but also in normal life any person should avoid doing things seen by its neighbour as a provocation.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

02.10.08: Macedonia name negotiations on home straight - 0 views

  • Macedonian President Branko Crvenkovski and Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn today (2 October) signalled that the 17-year-old 'name dispute' between Skopje and Athens over the name 'Macedonia' may be nearing a solution
  • "Ambassador Niemetz has requested next Tuesday to meet the negotiators from both countries, Ambassador [Admantios] Vassilakis of Greece and Ambassador [Nikola] Dimitrov and Martin Protoger [chief of staff to Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski]. The aim of the meeting is for both countries to make their remarks or request amendments following mediator Niemetz's last proposal. On this basis, I expect that Ambassador Niemetz will be able […] to table a final version," Crvenkovski said. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

10.12.08: EU-Macedonia Stabilisation and Association Council hold 5th meeting - 0 views

  • Macedonia has made good progress in meeting the criteria for visa liberalisation but it is too early to say when it will happen. The EU mission will soon arrive to Skopje to assess what was done after which EC will recommend on removing the Schengen visa barrier.
  • The EC set eight benchmarks in March and from their fulfilment it will depend whether accession negotiations will be opened, however the EU Council will pass the final decision on this, Rehn said. He reiterated at the press conference that Macedonia has made progress in several areas - judiciary, police, consolidation of multi-ethnic democracy, Ohrid Agreement implementation and Stabilisation and Association Agreement, and key test will be forthcoming municipal and presidential elections. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

08.09.08: Macedonia digs heels in on name dispute - 0 views

  • In a visit to Brussels on 5 September, Macedonian Deputy Prime Minister Ivica Bocevski showed no sign of flexibility regarding his country's name dispute with Greece, accusing Athens of obstructing talks and calling on Brussels to be more generous regarding Skopje's EU and NATO membership aspirations.
  • The Macedonian deputy prime minister also dismissed advice that his country should concentrate more on its EU prospects than its NATO ambitions. As a former Communist country, Macedonia does not see any strategic difference between EU and NATO, he explained. 
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