Macedonian Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski arrived in Sweden

Macedonian Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski arrived in Stockholm Tuesday to discuss European issues, including the country's attempts to join the European Union. Buckovski, who was to meet Prime Minister Goran Persson and Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds during the two-day visit, is a strong advocate of the small Balkan country's joining the 25-member EU.

EU leaders last week accepted Macedonia as a candidate, linking its entry to a debate on the bloc's future and its ability to absorb more relatively poor newcomers. Macedonia officially applied to join in March 2004.

Speaking on national television Saturday, Buckovski said the country's candidacy will help the economy, but warned that "the status of an applicant country is not a magic wand that will solve our problems immediately."

Last month, the European Commission recommended making Macedonia an EU candidate, widening the union's embrace of the Balkans to make the bloc's volatile southeastern rim more secure, reports the AP. I.L.

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