09 November, 2006
Although the EU Commission's progress report on Turkey more-or-less monopolized much of Europe's attention on Wednesday, two similar reports were issued on the accession courses of Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), with the latter's prospects generating heightened interest in Athens due to its common borders with FYROM and the standing "name issue".
The report lists Greece's neighboring landlocked country as the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" throughout the 59-page report, instead of the constitutional name adopted by the former Yugoslav republic and directly opposed by successive Greek governments.
"Relations with Greece have been developing. In December 2005 the two countries opened an Office for Consular, Economic and Trade Relations in Bitola and a Consulate in Thessaloniki respectively. Cooperation has developed in many areas, including transport, health, security, culture and customs. However, there has been no progress on the name issue which remains an open problem. Renewed efforts are needed, with a constructive approach, to find a negotiated and mutually acceptable solution on the name issue with Greece, under the auspices of the UN, within the framework of UN Security Council Resolutions 817/93 and 845/93, thereby contributing to regional cooperation and good neighborly relations," part of the EU executive's report on FYROM read.
In terms of Croatia's increasingly bright EU aspirations, the Commission cited a functioning market economy and "an improved political situation" while noting, however, that "significant challenges lie ahead".
Source: Athens News Agency