Despite faltering progress between Athens and Skopje over the name dispute, the European Commission on Tuesday was reported to be recommending EU membership talks for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
In comments reported by Reuters, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said “this decision to recommend opening negotiations is an encouragement to these countries to continue on the path of reforms”.
The commission also recommended membership talks be opened with Albania. However, it was indicated that Kosovo will have to wait before EU accession talks can begin.
However, all EU member states must back the European Commission’s decision, meaning Greece could still block Skopje’s path to EU membership.
Skopje’s path to NATO and EU membership remains blocked by Greece which is insisting the country change its name and remove irredentist parts of its constitution which could lay claim to part of Greek territory.
On Monday, Skopje PM Zoran Zaev said talks between the Greek and FYROM foreign ministers over the naming issue had failed to produce the results necessary to justify a meeting between the countries’ prime ministers.
Zaev said his country would not accept a name for all uses inside the country and abroad (erga omnes) nor any changes to its constitution.