Macedonia pledges more reforms to rev up EU entry

VIENNA (AFP) – Macedonia’s Prime Minister said on Wednesday that in addition to changing his country’s name, his government was ready to enact further reforms to speed up the start of European Union (EU) accession talks.

“We hope that by June we will have presented strong arguments to the European Council for getting a date for opening accession negotiations,” Zoran Zaev told a press conference in Vienna.

Zaev said he was “confident” his country could in that time show “progress in the area of the rule of law and starting judicial reforms”, as well as the fight against corruption and organised crime.

Macedonia and Greece ratified this month an agreement that paves the way for Macedonia to be renamed the Republic of North Macedonia, thereby ending an almost 30-year dispute between the two neighbours.

The row had for years stymied any prospect of Macedonia joining the EU or North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).