Macedonia

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 27th March 2014.

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Photo of Liam Fox Liam Fox Conservative, North Somerset

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

(1) how the International Court of Justice's judgment on 5 December 2011 in the case concerning the Application of the Interim Accord of 13 September 1995 (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia v. Greece) will affect the Republic of Macedonia's membership entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation;

(2) what his Department's policy is on (a) the Republic of Macedonia and (b) the Republic of Montenegro joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation discussions during the 2014 Summit in Wales;

(3) what discussions he has had with his Greek counterpart on the Republic of Macedonia's entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Photo of David Lidington David Lidington The Minister for Europe

The UK strongly supports the decision taken by allies at the Bucharest summit in 2008 that Macedonia will be invited to join the Alliance once a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue with Greece has been reached within the framework of the UN. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Secretary General made clear in a statement of 5 December 2011 that the International Court of Justice's ruling did not affect this decision and at the Chicago summit in 2012 the allies reaffirmed their commitment to Macedonia being invited to join NATO once the name issue is resolved. The UK continues to strongly urge intensified efforts by both parties towards a resolution of this issue.

NATO enlargement, including the progress of Macedonia towards membership, is regularly discussed at foreign ministerial sessions of the North Atlantic Council, most recently in December 2013 in the presence of Greek Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangeloa Venizelos. The British Deputy Permanent Representative to NATO also encouraged both Macedonia and Greece to find a solution to the name issue during the North Atlantic Council meeting with Macedonian Prime Minister on 12 February. The Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend Mr Cameron, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), and myself also urge progress towards a resolution of the Macedonia name issue in our interactions with our Greek and Macedonian counterparts.

The UK commends Montenegro's continued progress towards completion of NATO's Membership Action Plan process. However, there is still work to be done, notably on public support for NATO, intelligence and defence reform, strengthening the rule of law and overcoming organised crime and corruption. The UK continues to support Montenegro's efforts, both bilaterally and through NATO.

The UK strongly supports NATO's 'Open Door policy' on membership for any European democracy that wishes to join the Alliance and is in a position to undertake the commitments and obligations of membership to contribute to security in the Euro-Atlantic area. As such, invitations to join NATO will only be issued when aspiring members have completed the reforms which have been identified as necessary and are required of them to meet these commitments.

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