Hahn: VMRO-DPMNE must abandon its destructive approach

Brussells, 9 October, 2018 - 11:47 (META) 

The EU Commissioner, Johannes Hahn, in an interview for the Austrian magazine “Standard”, said that he is acquainted with the threats issued by the opposition against MPs that want to abandon the party’s lines and to support the Agreement with Greece at the Parliament.

He has asked VMRO-DPMNE to abandon, as he said, its destructive approach and to put the country’s interests and those of the citizens above the party’s interests. He also said that the party will bear full responsibility for the closure of the EU’s doors for Macedonia if the Agreement doesn’t pass.

-This is completely unacceptable for a party that says it is pro-European, democratic party – said Hahn.

He reminds that the Euro-Atlantic integration is a declared goal for VMRO-DPMNE, but the party has to prove that in fact and that the Agreement with Greece will open the doors for the EU and NATO accession.

For the EU Commissioner, the referendum was purely consultative and the vast majority of the citizens voted “For.”

-The boycott calls mean a lack of democratic maturity – thinks the EU Commissioner.

Hahn said that the snap elections carry a risk for breaching the set deadlines for the name agreement and expressed his doubts whether Greece will be able to pass that in its own Parliament. He also said that new elections don’t guarantee the necessary two-third majority.

-Now there is a chance that has to be used or otherwise this unique chance for the Agreement to get passed and with it the road towards EU membership can be lost for a long time, maybe forever – said Hahn.

He also said that VMRO will be completely taken as responsible for such scenario and the missed opportunity that is important not only for Macedonia but the whole region.

Hahn: Build a two-thirds majority in Parliament instead of new elections

Vienna, 5 October, 2018 - 19:08 (META) 

New elections in Macedonia will obstruct the path to the start of EU negotiations, EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn told the Austrian daily newspaper “Kurier”, saying he advised the Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev not to call snap parliamentary elections but to form a two-thirds majority in the Assembly that would support the Agreement with Greece.

“New elections will obstruct the road to the start of negotiations with the EU. The opposition contributed to the low turnout through the boycott. Saying that the referendum was unsuccessful is far from true. It is unusual for a referendum to get support from 94% of voters, but only 37% took part – because the opposition was apparently successful in the boycott. In parliament, a two-thirds majority can be secured. The government needs 8 or 9 votes from the opposition and this must be feasible. Everyone says they want to be part of the EU and NATO, as well as the opposition, so therefore the price must be paid with this agreement,” says Hahn.

Answering a journalist’s question on how to reach the required majority in Parliament, Hahn replied “with a combination of the Balkans and rationality”.

Parliament must implement Prespa Agreement, urge Hahn and Mogherini

Brussels, 1 October, 2018 - 14:08 (META) 

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and EU Commissioner for Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn in a joint statement have urged Parliament to implement the Prespa Agreement on the name and adopt constitutional changes. Mogherini and Hahn said that this is a historic opportunity not only for reconciliation in the region, but also for decisively moving the country forward on its European Union path.

“On 30 September, citizens of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia had the opportunity to vote for the future of their country. In a peaceful and democratic vote an overwhelming majority of those who exercised their right to vote said yes to the Prespa agreement on the name issue and their European path. The Parliament will now be called upon to proceed with the next steps for the implementation of the name agreement by deciding on the adoption of the constitutional changes.This is a historic opportunity not only for reconciliation in the region, but also for decisively moving the country forward on its European Union path. It is for all political and institutional actors now to act within their constitutional responsibilities beyond party political lines. The European Union will continue to fully support and accompany the country, its institutions and all its citizens,” reads the joint statement.

Leaders must respect and carry out the decision of the citizens, stated Hahn

Brussells, 30 September, 2018 - 22:34 (META) 

The European Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn wrote on his Twitter account that the votes “For” at the referendum are significant and that it will provide a support for the Prespa Agreement.

“I congratulate those citizens who voted in today’s consultative referendum and made use of their democratic freedoms/ With their significant “yes” vote, there is a broad support to the Prespa Agreement and to the country’s Euro-Atlantic path. I now expect all political leaders to respect this decision and take it forward with utmost responsibility and unity across party lines, in the interest of the country,” wrote Hahn

Hahn: I am satisfied with the current implementation of reforms but there is much work to be done

Brussells, 28 September, 2018 - 13:52 (META) 

Macedonia is irreversibly moving towards a full-fledged membership into the EU and this time there is no returning back, stated today in Brussels the Vice Premier for European Affairs, Bujar Osmani at the joint press conference with the EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn.

Osmani, who is leading the Macedonian delegation consisting of 40 people that began the screening process, at the press conference spoke in Macedonian, Albanian and English languages.

-Macedonia is writing a new chapter in its history these two days. This is the moment that we waited for so long and we were preparing, all of the previous governments. Allow me to state that we did it. Macedonia is irreversibly moving towards a full-fledged membership into the EU. This time there is no going back – said the Vice Premier.

Hahn is satisfied with the current implementation of the reforms but he stated that there is much work to be done. He also said that there are no specific dates until when the reforms will have to be implemented, especially in the judiciary.

-I don’t have any specific dates, but I’m pleased about the process of what has been accomplished so far. There lies so much work to do until next year. This includes a strong dedication to deliver results and that is the reason why we don’t want to lose more time. That is why we are here – said Hahn.

Hahn tells Mickoski it is not the time for political games

Skopje, 18 September, 2018 - 11:36 (META) 

In the past few weeks, Skopje has become the most popular destination for politicians from around the world. This is evidence that the agreement reached with Greece is appreciated. There are many conflicts in the world, and this is a rare example of resolving such a conflict, said EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn at press conference alongside Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

“The referendum is an opportunity that comes once in a lifetime. The decision you will make on September 30 will have far-reaching influence even for those who are not born yet. Unfortunately, I still have to use the abbreviation FYROM – The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, although I do not like it at all. You, the people will decide whether in the future I will address you as the Republic of North Macedonia,” said Hahn.

The European Commissioner met with the leader of the opposition, Hristian Mickoski, urging him not to use the referendum as a political event.

“It is important to motivate everyone to participate in the referendum and to exercise their democratic right. There are personal feelings, but the most important thing is to take part. Through this, to show how important the decision is. I want as many citizens to participate as possible in the referendum, because it is a message to the EU. My message to Mickoski and the Prime Minister is that this is a referendum on the country’s future. The whole situation must not be turned into something that is a political event. I think that political parties should refrain from party needs and goals. It’s not the time to play political games,” added Hahn.


Zaev: The disinformation serves as the great underminer of democratic and reformatory processes

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev together with the EU-Commissioner for European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Desir, opened the conference for the counties from Western Balkans, the EU -Western Balkans Media Days that is taking place in Skopje and is organized by the European Commission.

-It is inadmissible to allow the freedom of the press to remain only a declaration written in the laws and resolutions. In order to remain alive, authentic and put into practice every day, it has to come out of and be a part of economically sustainable, inde[endent pluralistic media sector, that exists in a functional state where the rule of law governs, as a guarantee for an authentic media freedom – said Zaev.

He also said that the “trend for spreading disinformation is a great underminer of the democratic and reformatory processes including the region’s Europeanization.”

-This para-information is part of the process of undermining the rule of law and the political stability that, among other, is influencing the work of the journalists. The fake news is always intended for discrediting people, to spread disinformation, to instigate conflicts, hatred, paranoia, conspiracy. In a regional context, the fake news is directed towards ethnic, political and religious intolerance, and are a joint enemy of the trend of reconciliation among the countries from the Western Balkans and their final Europeanization – said Zae.

He stressed that he advocates the concept of self-regulation i.e. the media professionals are those that will have to set the standards for themselves.

Hahn: If you don’t seize the opportunity now, EU’s door will be closed for the next decades

Brussels, 14 September, 2018 - 11:18 (META) 

EU’s Commissioner for Enlargement, Johannes Hahn gave an interview for MIA where he stated that if the referendum is unsuccessful, if there is no agreement with Greece, Macedonia will be blocked, there is a risk of isolation that will definitely slow the country’s economic and social development.

“We are working towards the country to become a full-fledged member of the EU, but it is not about the EU membership but the improvement of the living conditions for the citizens, to have a perspective for remaining in the country and for the people not to leave the country. A single country in the 21 century should not be dependent on remittances. The idea is to create something more if there is a European perspective, membership and that will attract international companies, companies that will create jobs if there are more industries in the country that will have an effect on small and medium-sized enterprises since they are suppliers and all together will have a stimulating effect on the economy. If the economy is internationally oriented it will have an effect on the quality of the rule of law, the judiciary independence and in the end, I think it is something that people want” said Hahn who will visit Macedonia on Monday.

He also said that “he understands when no one is pleased both in your country and in Greece, but it should be re-thought about what it means to be a part of the EU and what are the consequences if that is not possible.”

“If this opportunity is missed, I’m very sure that the door will be closed for decades if not for good. One should be cautious in politics, but in the foreseeable future, it will be closed and that will be damaging for the citizens in the country” said Hahn.

Hahn: Accession talks will take longer than before

Vienna, 29 August, 2018 - 13:06 (META) 

European Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn in an interview with the Austrian daily “Tiroler Tageszeitung” said that accession negotiations for EU membership in the future will take longer than before.

“Quality before speed,” Hahn pointed out – adding that the membership of Hungary and Romania “revealed a lot of things.”

He emphasized that the EU has learned lessons from current accession processes.

“The processes that we initiate in the Western Balkans should have a much higher degree of realization in terms of establishing the rule of law and combating corruption,” says EU Commissioner Hahn.

Hahn: The referendum is a choice between a European future or isolation

Brussels, 23 August, 2018 - 15:26 (META) 

EU Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, says he regrets the lack of national unity in Macedonia over the referendum on the Agreement with Greece and urges citizens to exercise their right to shape their future and the future of their country.

According to him, the referendum is an opportunity for citizens to make a choice between a European future or isolation.

“It is a choice between a European future, which will bring concrete benefits for citizens, like the rule of law, increased attractiveness for foreign investors, better jobs, a higher standard of living or a path that leads to isolation, stagnation and failure to face the same issues for advancement and advancement in key areas,” says Hahn.

He hopes that citizens who have not yet decided how to vote will be informed about the consequences of their vote.

“I think citizens should be aware that this referendum offers them a chance for their voices and views to be heard and for them to shape their future and the future of the country. The right to vote is an important democratic progress that needs to be supported through active participation. For them to really exercise this right, citizens should carefully analyze the motives behind the campaigns and the consequences of a “for” or “against” vote, in order to be able to make an informed decision,” says the European Commissioner.