Still no agreement, parties will consider proposed options over the weekend

Skopje, 16 July, 2016 - 13:26 (META) 

Representatives from political parties today did not manage to reach an agreement after days of negotiations at the residence of the European Union in Pržino which started on Thursday morning at 11:00.

Towards the end of negotiations, US Ambassador Jess Baily said there had been some progress, therefore he and the EU ambassador in Macedonia, Aivo Orav will give parties some space over the weekend to consider the proposed options, and hope that talks will resume next week.

Ambassador Baily is optimistic that the parties have the political will to resolve the outstanding issues, but did not respond to journalists’ questions, as to what is still obstructing Pržino Agreement.

After the meeting, party officials did not want to give statements to the media

No agreement – Talks continue tomorrow

Skopje, 12 July, 2016 - 21:02 (META) 

Today’s negotiations over the cleansing of the electoral roll and reforms to the media between the working groups of the political parties and Ambassadors Aivo Orav and Jess Baily came to an end without an agreement.

US Ambassador, Jess Baily, said he was not disappointed because sometimes to reach an agreement, time is needed.

“We had a five-hour constructive debate and we accomplished a lot. I can not state that an agreement was reached, but what I can say is that talks will continue. I am not disappointed that an agreement was not reached today, because sometimes time is needed”, said Baily.

Representatives from the political parties today gave statements and their views on the negotiations so far. Talks continue tomorrow

SDSM are pessimistic, while the VMRO-DPMNE and the DUI are optimistic over negotiations

Skopje, 8 July, 2016 - 17:20 (META) 

Representatives from the political parties who today met with EU Ambassador Aivo Orav, and US Ambassador, Jess Baily at talks to find a way out of the political crisis in the country, left with different impressions on the progress of the negotitations.

For the SDSM, it is not about any specific changes.

“We are unable to negotiate and accept that certain names remian on the voters’ list, names that could not be verified during field tests or data-base cross checks. We want a list that is appropriate to the reality in the country. Also, there are no signs that the VMRO-DPMNE are ready to relinquish control of the media”, said Renata Deskoska, the representative of the SDSM.

She added and that she can not be certain whther there will be an agreement by July 15th, nor whether there will be a leaders’ meeting.

The represantive from the DUI party, Artan Grubi kept his opinion he expressed yesterday, that there is already progress, and so far the meeting has been constructive, and that fair and democrtaic elections can be organized fast.

“I am still optimistic, and I believe that progress has already been made. If the Macedonian opposition were constructive, we could conduct fair and democratic elections fast”, said Artan Grubi.

While answering a question from a journalist, Grubi said that the actual progress comes from the DUI party having construcive proposals.

Nikola Todorov from the VMRO-DPMNE again said that there has been more progress and is more optimisitc than he was yesterday.

“The SDSM are scared of elections, and facing the people, that it more than obvious”, said Todorov.

He added that the SDSM and the VRMO-DPMNE managed to agree on the demands of the opposition concerning the electoral roll, and a large part of their proposals over the media.

“We could not agreed about the penalties for the media becuase the SDSM are asking for is too much, the fines are too high, we believe the fines should be symbolic, starting from one euro”, answered Todorov.

When asked by the media whether his optimism comes from the new Eurobonds and the borrowing, money which apperently will be used for populist ends. Todorov said that the borrowing is not the reason for his optimism, but the VMRO-DPMNE wants investments, VMRO-DPMNE wants investments, and with those projects to better the lives of the citizens of the country.

The representative from the DPA, Imer Aliu did not give a statement to the media.

Orav meets with Nedelkova to discuss reforms to the Judiciary

Skopje, 8 July, 2016 - 12:59 (META) 

Reforms to the judicial system, adopted laws and their implementation, as well as the IPA projections for the judiciary, were the topic of discussion between the President of the Supreme Court, Lidija Nedelkova, and EU Ambassador Aivo Orav, which took place on Wednesday this week.

Nedelkova, stated the Supreme Court, at the meeting expressed graduation for the cooperation and assistance of the European Union for several of their projects in the judiciary.

“The President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Macedonia, Lidija Nedelkova expressed gratitude for the cooperation, support, and assistance for a number of projects by the European Union in Macedonia and she noted that it is necessary for the support to continue for judicial reform in order to ensure and improve the efficiency and the independence of the judiciary. At the end of the meeting, President of the Supreme Court, Lidija Nedelkova, expressed appreciation for Aivo Orav’s personal support and the cooperation of the European Commission Delegation of the European Union with the Supreme Court of the Republic of Macedonia, over the duration of her term”, the court statement said.

Two weeks ago, on June 23 Nedelkova had a meeting with US Ambassador Jess Baily, where they discussed the current improvements and results from the reforms to the judiciary.

“The President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Macedonia, Lidija Nedelkova and the Ambassador of the United States, Jess Baily, both stated the need for continuation of the reforms, but by giving priority to the amendment of certain legal provisions for providing and improving the efficiency of an independence judiciary “, stated part of the announcement of the Supreme Court concerning that meeting.

The meetings of foreign diplomats with representatives of the judiciary comes at a time when they have been increasingly talking about the need for establishing a special court department that would take on the cases from the SPO.

Orav: Haindl’s visit to influence developments on resolving political crisis

Skopje, 6 July, 2016 - 18:30 (META) 

The EU Ambassador to Macedonia, Aivo Orav today stated that he is expecting the visit from the German Special Envoy to Macedonia, Johannes Haindl to influence developments on resolving the political crisis and announced that the International Community will continue to support the process.

“I hope that today’s visit will affect developments. Last week, Ambassadors of other EU member states and I gave a statement, and it was not just a statement for the sake of giving a statement. We really want to encourage all parties to reach an agreement on the Pržino Agreement , but unfortunately, there are not many positive things to report today”, said Aivo Orav after a working lunch with Ambassadors of EU member states and with the German special envoy, Ambassador Haindl.

However, Orav hopes that tomorrow there will be a meeting between the working group of all four parties and, as he said, maybe they will be able to move forward. He declined to comment on the content of the inter-party talks.

“Our role is to bring all the parties together and help bring progress to the process. The International Community has close consultations here and we expect that the political crisis will soon be over”, said Orav.

Orav: Parties have to find a solution for the political crisis in the next few days, not weeks or months

Skopje, 1 July, 2016 - 12:34 (META) 

The European Union is deeply concerned about the political crisis. Instead of finding a solution, the country is again at a standstill, announced today in Skopje EU Ambassador to Macedonia Aivo Orav, accompanied by other Ambassadors of EU member states.

“More than a month has passed since the Parliament reconvened. Regrettably, we have not seen much progress addressing the deep political crisis the country. The EU is seriously concerned about the situation.
We are united on the need to have the country’s political leadership engaging in an open dialogue. Parties need to agree on the way forward to implement the 2015 Pržino agreement, including to create the conditions for credible elections”, Orav said, reading a joint statement by all European Ambassadors.

The Ambassador stressed that in the past period, serious violations of the rule of law have been noted and he stated that this behaviour is contrary to democratic principles.

“In recent months, the rule of law has suffered further challenges, including pardons by the President of the country. Rule of law is fundamental to a strong democratic society. Therefore, it is also key that the Urgent Reform Priorities as proposed by the European Commission are implemented”, said the Ambassador.

Ambassador Orav reiterated that the no-one should interfere with work of the Special Public Prosecution and called on all the authorities and institutions to stop any obstructions.

“We remain concerned about the challenges of the work by the Special Prosecutor. We call on all bodies, in particular on all parties that agreed to establish the Special Prosecutor, to stop obstructing and instead, give the office their full support. Additionally, all issues that this office faces also need to be addressed as a matter of priority”, said Orav.

Regarding the SDSM’s decision to freeze its own participation in Parliament, the Ambassador thinks it goes against the tendency to strengthen democracy.

“We also recall that democracy is strengthened through full participation in institutions, to ensure their democratic functioning and greater checks and balances. We recall that the Pržino framework remains the best way to move the country out of the current crisis. We believe that it is in the interest of this country and its Euro-Atlantic path that the main political parties agree a common way forward out of the crisis in a matter of days rather than weeks or months”, said Orav.

The SDSM and VMRO-DMPNE confirm: Negotiations at Pržino are suspended

Skopje, 16 June, 2016 - 16:14 (META) 

The parties are not even close to agreeing to conditions that will contribute to fair and democratic elections in Autumn.The SDSM spokesman, Petre Shilegov at today’s press conference, responding to reporters questions, said the negotiations have been suspended because the VMRO-DPMNE wants to discuss the questionable voters on the electoral roll and about the regulation of the media. Shilegov did not answer whether and when negotiations will continue and whether there is an opportunity for a leaders’ meeting.

“Negotiations have been suspended. Whenever we discuss the two painful topics for the VMRO-DPMNE, which are, the cleansing of the electoral roll, or to be exact, 330,000 questionable records and the regulation of the media, it was at that moment that the negotiations ended, by the VMRO-DPMNE. It is obvious that the VMRO-DPMNE runs from fair, free and democratic elections. The VMRO-DPMNE wants to hold elections, but by their own design, as they were before, criminal and rigged. The Social Democrats will not allow it. We have given our word. Nikola Gruevski is political history. A word is a word. Macedonia will have fair, free and democratic elections”, said Shilegov at a press conference.

He also added that during negotiations, while discussing the regulation of the conditions in accordance with the Pržino Agreement, two matters were left open. The electoral roll and media regulation. The party spokesman did not specify whether it will be possible for a leaders’ meeting to be held in the next few days, because, as he said, Nikola Gruevski always runs away from meetings which hold real opportunities for things to be cleared up.

From the VMRO-DPMNE party, they also confirm that negotiations have been suspended, but say it is not their fault.

“We asked all parties to agree that journalists and the media can not be fined, but the SDSM did not accept this proposal. Regarding the electoral roll, yesterday we welcomed the move when the SDSM confirmed that there was no electoral fraud and that the VMRO’DPMNE’s victory was clean”, said Ivo Kotevski.

According to US Ambassador Jess Baily, who with EU Ambassador Aivo Orav brokered meetings between the parties, the solution to the political crisis lies in implementing the Pržino Agreement and the right to advocate with their EU counterparts.

“We are meeting with the parties and are discussing various topics. We are working on the implementation of the Pržino Agreement, which provides guidelines for accountability, given the wiretapping scandal and the serious allegations stemming from it. We hope reforms will follow and credible elections that people will participate in. That is the essence of the Pržino Agreement and the United States and the EU are trying to attain friendship with Macedonia”, Ambassador Baily said at a press conference with the Minister of Interior, Mitko Chavkov.

Ambassadors of the EU and the Netherlands declare: Pardons to be withdrawn completely

Skopje, 31 May, 2016 - 18:12 (META) 

EU Ambassador, Aivo Orav and Dutch Ambassador, Wouter Plomp, at today’s debate organized by “Transparency International Macedonia”, declared that the pardons must be withdrawn completely, as it is the only way to avoid selective justice.

The Ambassadors said that all stakeholders must support the work of the Special Prosecutor’s Office (SPO).

“The European Union clearly announced that selective justice and pardons are not acceptable. The EU together with other international organizations emphasized the importance of the SPO. We call on all sides to stop preventing the SPO from doing their job”, said Ambassador Orav.

Ambassador Plomp also told all parties concerned, to respect the rule of law, and, therefore, fully support the SPO and their work.

“Functional democracy is especially important for all countries that plan to join the EU. Now it is important that all parties concerned respect the rule of law, and, therefore, support the SPO and a comprehensive withdrawal of the pardons granted by the President”, said Ambassador Plomp.

Orav: There is no more time, fast and serious decisions are needed

Skopje, 10 May, 2016 - 15:29 (META) 

“The political crisis is getting increasingly deeper. Fast and serious decisions are needed. There s no more time for delays and obstruction”, said EU Ambassador Aivo Orav while attending celebrations for May 9, Europe Day at the EU InfoCentre.

“The Przhino Agreement from last year, has created hope among the political parties, the general public and the international community. Unfortunately, in the past year we have seen obstructions, delays and the non-implementation of the Agreement. The amnesty was the last straw. When that decision was made, the explanation was that it was done for Euro-Atlantic integration of the country. Euro-Atlantic integration means democracy and the rule of law. But w must have a different understanding of the rule of law. Fast and serious decisions are needed. There is no more time for delays and obstructions. The European Union is here and will continue to be here to help the country to move closer”, said Orav.

The celebration was attended by Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanoski, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikola Poposki, SDSM leader, Zoran Zaev, the leader of the VMRO-DPMNE, Nikola Gruevski, Special Public Prosecutor Katica Janeva with her two leading prosecutors, Lence Ristovska and Fatime Fetai, US Ambassador, Jess Baily,  Ambassador of Great Britain, Charles Garrett, Ambassador of the Netherlands, Wouter Plomp, of Italy, Ambassador Massimo Bellelli, and representatives from various civil societies and the people from the business sector.

Baily and Orav are calming the situation while meeting with civil society organizations

Vienna, 19 April, 2016 - 20:51 (META) 

The Ambassadors of the US and EU, Jess Baily and Aivo Orav in the next few days will  have meetings with representatives from various civil society organizations, diplomatic sources told journalists at “Meta”.

Meetings such as our source says, aims to calm the situation in the country, after the situation escalated followed by  the decision by of President Gjorge Ivanov to stop all court proceedings against politicians and their associates, granting them pardons.

The Ambassadors, also want to listen to civil society organizations, and their views and requests will be passed on to the leaders’ meeting on Friday which will be held in Vienna.

The EU Delegation in Skopje to Macedonian political parties have already sent invitations on behalf of EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn and MEPs Ivo Vajgl, Eduard Kukan and Richard Howitt, for a meeting in Vienna among the leaders, and to discuss how to salvage the Przhino Agreement.
European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic, today announced that the Vienna meeting is not aimed to set up a new agreement, but to ensure implementation of the existing Przhino Agreement as well as reform priorities.