Europe

Britain says Macedonia turmoil is damaging EU, NATO hopes

  • British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond, rear left, stands with other EU foreign ministers prior to a group photo at the EU Council building in Brussels on Monday, May 23, 2016. Libya has given the European Union a green light to begin training its coast guard, as increasing numbers of migrants leave the country bound for Italy. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond, rear left, stands with other EU foreign ministers prior to a group photo at the EU Council building in Brussels on Monday, May 23, 2016. Libya has given the European Union a green light to begin training its coast guard, as increasing numbers of migrants leave the country bound for Italy. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

  • British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond, right, speaks with Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders during a round table meeting of EU foreign ministers at the EU Council building in Brussels on Monday, May 23, 2016. Libya has given the European Union a green light to begin training its coast guard, as increasing numbers of migrants leave the country bound for Italy. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond, right, speaks with Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders during a round table meeting of EU foreign ministers at the EU Council building in Brussels on Monday, May 23, 2016. Libya has given the European Union a green light to begin training its coast guard, as increasing numbers of migrants leave the country bound for Italy. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

Britain has warned Macedonia that its future in the European Union and NATO could be in peril amid political turmoil linked to a wiretapping scandal last year.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Monday that "over the last nine or months or so, we've seen things going backwards."

He said "we need to be very clear and blunt with the Macedonians that if we see things going backwards they can make no further progress towards collaboration with the European Union, with NATO."

Macedonia has been locked in turmoil over opposition allegations that the conservative government wiretapped around 20,000 people, including police, diplomats, judges and journalists.

An early election slated for June 5 that was meant to defuse the crisis has been delayed.