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Macedonia Celebrates Becoming EU Candidate

(RFE/RL) 17 December 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Macedonia is preparing a massive celebration today to mark a European Union decision to give the Balkan nation candidate status for membership.

EU leaders accepted Macedonia's candidacy for membership early this morning at the end of their summit in Brussels.

Macedonian Deputy Prime Minister Radmila Secerinska called it a "good day for the European Union but historic for Macedonia."

A celebration was planned for later today on a main square in the Macedonian capital Skopje

EU officials have indicated it may take years before Macedonia will actually begin membership talks. They say the country's entry will depend on the EU's ability to absorb more newcomers.

(with AP)