Young Macedonian Politicians Promote EU Membership

February 16th, 2012   Education | Macedonia | The European Union

Young politicians from Macedinia visiting the Commission in Brussels.

Macedonia is one of the current candidates for a future EU membership. More than 85 percent of the population supports a membership in both EU and NATO. But before entering either of the two organizations, the sensitive naming dispute with Greece must be resolved.

As part of the EU integration project in the Balkans, the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation invited youth politicians from the party in power in Macedonia – VMRO-DPMNE – to a conference in Brussels, February 7-10, 2012.

The group of enthusiastic young politicians visited major EU Institutions such as the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.

In the Parliament, they met with Anna-Maria Corazza Bildt, who described her work as a Member of Parliament. At the Commission, EU experts Willem Noë and Mark Corner summarized the history of the Union.

The participants’ key area of interest was, as is to be expected, the enlargement of the EU. The Macedonians were eager to receive information about when their country could become a member, but understandably no-one could give them anything but a general timetable for the process.

Moreover, discussions about membership were in focus during the meetings at the NATO headquarters. Due to security matters, Macedonia regards a NATO membership as even more important than a membership in the EU. In 2008 the country was ready to join the European/North American defense alliance, but was blocked by Greece.

“In our country, everyone discusses politics”, one of the participants said. 21 years have passed since declaring its independence and Macedonia is still in an extensive transition phase. However, one thing is clear: the wish to be part of Europe is one of the top priorities of the new generation.

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