Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, the current holder of the EU presidency, is due to arrive in Skopje this Tuesday for an official visit to Macedonia, where he will meet his counterpart Nikola Gruevski and President Branko Crvenkovski.
The visit comes just weeks before the March 22 presidential and local election in the country, which will be closely observed by the EU as a benchmark for Macedonia’s democratic capacity.
“EU enlargement, reform processes in the country in the light of the country’s efforts to get closer to the Union, and visa regime liberalisation,” will be discussed, Topolanek’s cabinet said in a media statement.
If the country manages to organise peaceful elections, Skopje could soon be granted complete visa free travel for to the EU, as well as a date for the start of EU accession talks, which would mark the next step on ladder in the country’s efforts to join the Union.
“The presidential elections in March and the dialogue with the opposition will be of key importance,” Topolanek said recently. Topolanek has also cautioned that the country has still not yet completed eight benchmarks it should have fulfilled last year to the fullest. They are mainly linked with internal law reforms.
Topolanek recently noted that the growing weariness among some EU countries, especially the older ones, might also be an obstacle for Macedonia’s speedy admission, although he has stated his own personal support for the EU enlargement process.