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EU official urges Macedonian leaders to focus on reforms

January 29, 2019
Macedonia's Deputy Prime Minister in charge of European Affairs Bujar Osmani removes his headphones during a joint press conference with Romania's Minister Delegate for European Affairs George Ciamba in Bucharest, Romania, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. Osmani said his country's impending name change is a compromise that will bring stability and prosperity to the Balkans. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — A European Union official is urging leaders in Macedonia to focus on reforms necessary for the country to join the bloc, after Greece ratified a deal ending a nearly three-decade long dispute over use of the name “Macedonia.”

Director-General for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Christian Danielsson said Tuesday that Macedonia must deliver results in reforming its judiciary and public administration and fight corruption if EU accession talks are to start this year.

Macedonia has been granted EU candidate status since 2005, but a dispute over its name with Greece and slow progress in reforms has kept it out of the Union.

Under a deal with Greece, the country will now be renamed North Macedonia. The agreement comes into effect once Greece signs its northern neighbor’s NATO accession protocol.

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