December 8 (SeeNews) - The European Union has postponed until next year its decision for launching entry talks with Macedonia due to the Greece’s opposition to the name of the country, state-run Macedonian Information Agency (MIA) reported on Tuesday.
EU foreign ministers decided in Brussels to reconsider the issue on Macedonia' entry talks during the Spanish EU presidency in the first half of 2010, MIA (www.mia.com.mk) said.
While most of EU member states were in favour of setting a date for Macedonia to start EU accession negotiations, the decision was delayed due to opposition of Greece, which insists on the prior resolution of its name dispute with Skopje, MIA said.
Macedonia is involved in a 18-year-old name dispute with its southern neighbour, which objects to the use of the name Republic of Macedonia, saying it implies territorial claims to the northernmost Greek province of the same name.
Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki said that the Greek blockade will not only damage the image of the European Union, but also the whole process of the EU enlargement, MIA added.
Greece also blocked an invitation to Macedonia to join NATO at the Alliance's summit in Bucharest in April 2008.
The European Commission in October recommended the opening of accession negotiations with Macedonia that was granted an EU candidate status in 2005, in the light of the progress achieved by the Balkan country.
Last month, the European Union adopted a final decision for granting visa-free travel to the citizens of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro as of December 19.