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Europe

Macedonia Prepares EU Membership Bid

Macedonia is to apply for membership of the EU before the end of February, Foreign Minister Ilinka Mitreva said on Tuesday in Brussels.

Macedonia has signaled it will apply for European Union membership before the end of February 2004, Foreign Minister Ilinka Mitreva said on Tuesday in Brussels. Ilinka's declaration was made at the meeting of EU foreign ministers with five countries of the Western Balkans. "Macedonia does not ask for concessions or short cuts, we are committed to hard work and we will accomplish the necessary criteria," Ilinka told a press conference after the meeting. However, EU Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten did not give a clear answer on whether he would welcome Macedonia's application. ( EUobserver.com)