The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and the European Union have begun preliminary talks designed to reduce the length of negotiations for full EU membership, which has been held up by its dispute with Greece over the Balkan country’s name.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule said Thursday's talks with FYROM authorities aim to maintain the pace of reforms the country must implement in order to join the EU. Reforms focus on the country's public administration, rule of law, media freedom, electoral process and economy.
FYROM became an EU candidate in 2005, but has been unable to start formal accession negotiations because of Greek objections to the country's name. Athens argues that the term Macedonia implies territorial claims against the northern Greek province of the same name.