The Former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia is set to hand in its application for membership of the European Union by the end of February.
A spokesperson for President Boris Trajkovski told the EUobserver that the application would come before the end of February although no more precise date has been set. Macedonia's application will come almost a year after Croatia applied for EU membership. That country is now on the verge of receiving the Commission's verdict, which is likely to be positive. The Commission is likely to take at least as long with Macedonia's application, but given the presence of EU peacekeeping troops in the country until December 2004, it may well take much longer. Last summer a series of bomb attacks and kidnappings rocked the Former Yugoslav Republic, calling into question the fragile peace which has emerged from ethnic tension in 2001. Mr Trajkovski's government has long believed that the EU membership offers the most promising way to achieve lasting stability. (EUObserver.com)