The Macedonian Tendency: Macedonia to EU This Year?

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Macedonia to EU This Year?

I will believe it when I see it. Europe: "Macedonia Expects EU Candidate Status This Year (Update1)

July 1 (Bloomberg) -- The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia expects the European Union to grant it candidate status as early as this year, 14 years after independence, said Economy Minister Fatmir Besimi.

The nation of 2 million people located between Greece and Bulgaria applied for EU membership in March 2004. It also seeks to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 2006, Besimi said in an interview on June 24 during a conference in Monaco.

``We have been very active in the EU integration processes,'' said Besimi, 29. ``We expect to have candidate status at the end of this year or early next year and this will have a very positive impact on economic growth and investments because it will be a very strong signal we are moving in the right direction.''

Macedonia's $5.4 billion economy may grow 3.8 percent this year, Besimi forecast, from 2.9 percent in 2004, led by higher industrial output and foreign investment. The nation's bid for membership follows the EU's biggest expansion last year, when 10 mostly eastern European countries joined. Since then, French and Dutch voters have rejected the EU constitution, raising concern about political integration and further expansion."

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