#Macedonia: ‘The country is in an institutional and political crisis’

Sobranie_-_the_Macedonian_AssemblyFollowing the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini reconfirmed the EU engagement and focus on the Western Balkan region, including through political and economic links.

The Council also stressed the need for partners in the region to deliver on reforms to ensure they make steady progress on the European path. EU ministers said that good regional cooperation continues to be essential, as is the need to contain and avoid inflammatory rhetoric.

The most febrile state at this moment is Macedonia (FYROM). Following elections the incumbent, Gjorge Ivanov, failed to form a coalition government. Ivanov then refused to recognise the mandate of Zoran Zaev, the agreed Prime Minister candidate of four parties. Many have called on Macedonia’s to uphold the constitution and not make up excuses to prevent Zaev from assuming the office.

The results were neck-and-neck with VMRO-DPMNE won 51 and SDSM 49 seats. There are total of 120 parliamentary seats.

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S&D MEP and vice-president Victor Boştinaru said: “Now it is clear that president Ivanov, together with the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) Party, is doing everything, including using unconstitutional means, to prevent opposition from coming to power. This is completely unacceptable and Europe should act in the strongest way possible. The worst is that together they are fuelling nationalist sentiments, which can have unforeseen consequences. The first signs of these are already visible: journalists have been assaulted at VMRO-DPMNE supported rallies; more than 20 SDSM Party local headquarters have been attacked; SDSM MPs have been harassed – some of their houses vandalised and constantly monitored by unidentified individuals. We shall hold president Ivanov and the VMRO-DPMNE Party responsible for any escalation of the situation in the country.”

S&D MEP and shadow rapporteur on the country, Tonino Picula, added: “It has been now proven that the VMRO-DPMNE Party will not refrain from any means to avoid being held responsible by the Special Prosecutor for their unlawful actions, which we could all hear on the wiretaps. Europe now has to clearly say that this is not acceptable, and call on president Ivanov to act in a responsible manner for the future of his country. We condemn that the president and the VMRP-DPMNE Party are fuelling ethnic tensions in the country just to stay in power with unlawful means. We call on them to respect the outcome of the elections and the fact that the opposition, together with Albanian parties, have formed a parliamentary majority.”

While most EU countries want to see the constitution uphold its constitution and democratic principles, the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Péter Szijarto preferred to side with the Russia, saying that the EU should not interfere. Szijarto also agreed with a Macedonian journalist who suggested that George Soros’s Open Society Foundation could be the source of any dissent. Blaming Soros for any dissent in the face of ‘illiberal democracy’ is a frequent refrain of the Hungarian government.

 

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Category: A Frontpage, EU, FYROM, Macedonia, Politics, World