15 February, 2007
Reservations with which many NATO and European Union countries are facing the prospect of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) accession to the two international organizations is a cause of concern for the country's leadership which, in past weeks, has started a campaign aimed at promoting its candidacy.
However, the results of this campaign have created skepticism among FYROM's leaders, since both the country's President Branko Crvenkovski and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who visited Brussels successively, had the opportunity of ascertaining that the scene is vague for FYROM and the pending issue concerning the country's name is making it even more vague.
As regards the EU, political analysts, both in Skopje and Brussels, were surprised by the tough and not particularly diplomatic language used by Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn during his recent visit to FYROM.
The Finnish Commissioner made it clear that the feeling prevailing in Brussels is that reforms are "dragging their feet" and that democratization in FYROM (particularly with regard to minority rights) is inadequate.
On the question of NATO, which FYROM hopes to join in 2008, the climate is also problematic. FYROM's leaders have ascertained in past weeks that the issue of the name is on the agenda of discussions they are having with NATO officials and constitutes one of the many obstacles existing in FYROM's course towards NATO accession.
Source: Athens News Agency