EU Commission chief urges Macedonia to resolve name dispute

EU Commission chief urges Macedonia to resolve name dispute
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, left, is welcomed by Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, right, upon his arrival to the government building in Skopje, Macedonia, Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018. Starting with Macedonia, Juncker is embarking on a seven-nation Balkans tour Sunday to promote the EU's new eastward expansion strategy. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has urged Macedonia to resolve a long-standing naming dispute with neighboring Greece so the country can open membership talks with the European Union.

Juncker arrived in Macedonia on Sunday to kick off a Western Balkans tour that also will include stops in Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Montenegro.

He met in the capital, Skopje, with Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

Junker praised Macedonia for the “pace of reforms” needed to join the EU, but urged the government to settle the 25-year dispute over the Macedonia name.

Greece argues that Macedonia’s use of it when it gained independence in 1991 implies territorial claims to its Macedonia province

Juncker said: “Do your job with Greece…I do not intend to lecture those involved.”