Macedonia is “back on track” toward European Union membership, the EU foreign policy chief says, urging Macedonia to keep carrying out recommended EU reforms.
The EU’s Federica Mogherini congratulated Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev during a visit to Skopje Wednesday.
“You’ve gone a long way and, yes, the good news is ... that you’re back,” Mogherini said. “I think this is a major achievement you have to be proud of. You can celebrate.”
But the EU official urged Zaev to deepen and maintain the recommended economic reforms needed to meet EU standards.
She also said she believes it is “definitely possible” for Macedonia and Greece to resolve the long-standing name dispute before the next scheduled EU summit in June.
Greece has been holding up EU and NATO membership for Macedonia because of their feud over the name Macedonia — used by both the former Yugoslav republic and the ancient region of northern Greece.
Many Greeks say allowing the neighboring country to use the name Macedonia insults Greek history and implies a claim on Greek territory.
Macedonians say changing their country’s name or even modifying it in a deal with Greece would be like committing treason.
Greek and Macedonian leaders have opened talks on a settlement after years of unsuccessful efforts by the United Nations.
Among the proposals is calling the country New, Upper, or North Macedonia.
Macedonia has already changed the name of the main airport from Alexander the Great Airport — for the ancient Greek hero — to Skopje International Airport.