In more news on the future expansion of the European Union, the EU Parliament yesterday urged the EU to open membership negotiations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.  The new EU Enlargement Commissioner, Stefan Fuele, also is in favor of beginning accession talks with Macedonia. Thus far, Greece has delayed membership talks with Macedonia due to objections to Macedonia’s name, which corresponds to a historial Greek region.  The MEPs urged the EU to make the decision to open accession talks at the March 2010 summit. Greek, Cypriot and Spanish MEPs have been somewhat cool to the suggestion, with the Spanish EU Affairs Secretary, Diego Lopez Garcia, suggesting that Macedonia has work to do on issues of corruption, gender inequality, and minority rights.

In other EU accession news, negotiations on Croatia’s joinder may be completed by the end of the year. Turkish progress towards membership has been described as “piecemeal” due to ongoing issues regarding relations with Cyprus and protections for Kurds.

European Commission – Enlargement