Ivanov severely attacked Macedonian civil organizations during his stay in Budapest


Budapest, 20 March, 2017 - 13:26 (META) 

The control and the transparency in the financing of civil organizations have to be strengthened and all doubts have to rejected and a distinction has to be made between non-government organizations that truly work for the benefit of the people and those that hide behind the NGO curtain.

This was stated by the president of the state, Gjorge Ivanov, in an interview for the Hungarian daily newspaper Magyar Hírlap when he was answering about the efforts that Macedonia and Hungary invest in the decrease of political activism by civil organizations supported by George Soros.

-A misuse of the civil sector mustn’t be allowed. As a law professor, I spent a lot of years in the civil sector, foundations, institutions, non-government organizations with an initiative to help the society to become more mature. Unfortunately, with a few exceptions, this sector is now dominated by political interests and the citizen’s interests are at the bottom of the priorities of these organizations – said Ivanov.

The Macedonian president said that “apart from a political, the NGO’s have an ethnic color since some of the foreign foundations insist on supporting them on an ethnic basis.”

-I condemn all efforts for politicizing the civil sector and the effort to make them biased. It is unacceptable that foreign assets to flow into the non-government sector for the development of political goals, initiation of activities that involve direct foreign involvement into the internal affairs of a sovereign country – said Ivanov.

According to him, the civil sector has to contribute to the progress and positive changes that will be of benefit to the country.
-Instead of that, we have to deal with organizations that in various ways and without any self-criticism act destructively and in contrary to the national and civil interests – concludes Ivanov.
In the interview, he also talks about current political happenings in the country and says that the parties have to seek the solution with responsible behavior and in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia. According to Ivanov, a possible solution for solving the crisis are the new early parliamentary elections at which the citizens will cast their vote and will voice out their opinion about the subjects that were imposed during the post-election period.

In the interview, he also stresses that SDSM’s leader, Zoran Zaev, instead of informing him in a period of 10 10, he has done that after 7 days that he has secured a majority in the Parliament with the support of all parties by ethnic Albanians. He repeated that he won’t give the mandate if the Albanian platform is not rejected with which, as he said, the unitarity, sovereignty and the independence of Macedonia are endangered.

The president stressed that the other part of the demands by the parties from the Albanian political block are contrary to the Constitution while other demands depend on the field statistics, for which it is necessary a census be made. He mentioned that the main reason for deepening of the crisis is the Tirana Platform and he also stressed that a week after it was published what followed was a radical rhetoric and statements by high-ranking state officials from Albania and Kosovo because of which he called upon the international community to condemn the platform.

Ivanov is visiting Hungary during which he will have meetings with the country’s top officials.


SOS: An unregistered NGO, GONGO or PONGO?


“Stop Operation Soros” (SOS), was introduced to the public on January the 17th, whose only declared members so far, are historian Nikola Srbov, who often appears in the media as a “political analyst” and journalists Cvetin Chilimanov and Nenad Mirchevski, who received various descriptions by the media. For example, a national television station, classified the three as an “Initiative Committee for establishing a Civil Association, “Stop Operation Soros”. In some media reports they were presented as a “Civil Movement” and sometimes as an “Initiative Committee for establishing a Civil Movement”, and they were even described a “non-governmental organization”.

According to a legal expert “Meta” consulted with, in principle all forms of movements, as in this case, need to be registered. An interesting example of this, is the Besa Movement, which began as a movement and then registered as a political party, but the statute still stands as the name “Besa Movement” and was registered in accordance with the Law on Political Parties. The expert we contacted indicated that any form of movement for achieving political ends, in principle, no matter under what name, needs to registered, whether it be as an association or organization. This can all be found in the regulations determined by the Law on Associations and Foundations.

CentRegSOS

“Meta” requested information from the Central Registry to see if such an entity is registered under the name “Stop Operation Soros.” The answer we received was on February the 8th, around 14:30 pm which said “there are no records for the entity under the title of a ‘Citizens Association’ named “Stop Operation Soros”.

“Regarding your request, based on the records in the Trade Registry and the Registry of other legal entities submitted through the single window system in the Central Register of RM and transferred to the Trade Registry and the Registry of other legal entities, at the time of the preparation of this information in the electronic database, there are no records for a ‘Civil Association’ or ‘Civil Movement’ called STOP OPERATION SOROS”, reads the information we received.

The Facebook page for “Stop Operation Soros” describe themselves as a “Non-Governmental Organization”, or NGO. On the website “STOP OP SOROS”, which is a Macedonian domain, it says that they’re a “movement” or “global initiative”.

Associations and organizations close to the government in the world are known as GONGO (Government organized NGO / NGO organized by the government) or PONGO (Party organized NGO / NGO organized political party). They are sponsored by government or a political party to fight for their political interests, while at the same time, embodying the image of a common NGO, to present themselves as part of civil society and the territory of the country, but also on an international level.

The terms GONGO and PONGO were first used back in 1989 when it was discovered the unique position NGOs found themselves in. They could abuse their position for narrow political goals to meet the interests of small, but powerful special interests.

Therefore, GONGO / PONGO, are established to achieve internal politics or foreign policy objectives, and sometimes this is done so they are able to extract international aid, real humanitarian causes or corruption or other criminal purposes, during which GONGO / PONGO are a mask to hide the activities related to the underworld.

As for the financing of SOS, historian Srbov told “Pogled” that they’re are funded “by activists, and they are joining us everyday in large numbers”, and that they are “led by an idea, and not by financial motives.”

One of the three founders, Cvetin Chilimanov, is a journalist, and Vice President of the Macedonian Association of Journalists (MAN). He is also the editor of the English service of the Macedonian Information Agency (MIA), which is a joint stock company owned by the state, meaning it gets paid by the state budget. According to financial reports for 2015, submitted on July the 14th, 2016, to the Macedonian Stock Exchange, the total revenue for that year for the agency was 49.61 million denars. From the state budget or from the government, who owns MIA, 40 million denars were transferred that year to the agency, and the remaining 9.61 million denars were distributed for the other needs of the agency.

Mr Chilimanov was previously employed by the Cabinet of the President of Macedonia, Gjorge Ivanov, and then he was employed by MIA, where he was sent to Washington as a correspondent.

The other part of the “movement”, Nenad Mirchevski and Nikola Srbov, are connected to the magazine and website “Republika”, which until last year, it was unknown who the owner was exactly, as the issuer company “Iresine Limited” was registered in Belize, a well known tax haven, until July last year, when its owner became the then director, Done Donevski. Mirchevski, for many years has worked as a journalist and editor at “Republika” and Srbov is a columnist.


Shilegov: By a warrant by UBK the work of 22 NGOs and 42 persons who are criticizing the authorities is being checked


Skopje, 4 January, 2017 - 18:59 (META) 

SDSM’s spokesperson and MP at the Parliament, Petre Shilegov, today has said that according to the information they have, by an initiative of the current director of the Directory of Security and counterintelligence and former director of the Directorate of financial intelligence, Vladimir Atanasovski, the State commission for corruption prevention (SCCP) has asked an inspection of 22 NGOs.

-The Directorate of financial intelligence, according to the information, has started an inspection of 22 NGOs. Also, there are inspections regarding 42 persons that have openly criticized the rule of Gruevski and are in the opposition – said Shilegov.

He announced that the Anticorruption commission and the Directorate for financial intelligence must not be an instrument of the VMRO-DPMNE’s leader, Nikola Gruevski and his associates, who for their personal interests want to clash with the democratic public.

-We are saying to all public institutions not to give in to pressures that Nikola Gruevski is trying to impose during the last days of VMRO-DPMNE. Nikola Gruevski and the criminal authorities are already a past. The majority of citizens of Macedonia have asked for changes. New and responsible government for the citizens of Macedonia is coming. All who have worked against the interest of the citizens or were accomplices of the regime in their illegal and unprofessional activities will be held responsible – stressed Shilegov


Hahn begins with meetings in Skopje, first on the agenda is the civil sector


Skopje, 14 October, 2016 - 11:20 (META) 

This morning, the European Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn will start his visit to Macedonia with a meeting with representatives from the civil sector.

After the meeting with the representatives from the NGOs, Hahn is to meet with Prime Minister Emil Dimitriev.

Meetings with Katica Janeva, the Special Public Prosecutor, the leader of the DPA party, Menduh Thaci and the leader of the DUI party, Ali Ahmeti will all be held at the EU Info-Centre.

Commissioner Hahn will then meet with the leaders of the two largest Macedonian parties, Zorav Zaev and Nikola Gruevski at their party headquarters, after which he will give a statement with the Delegation of the European Union.


Gruevski: The SPO has Lost its Credibility


Skopje, 20 June, 2016 - 13:40 (META) 

The Special Public Prosecution is on a mission to blacken our name and discredit the VMRO-DPMNE and help the SDSM, reckons the leader of the ruling party VMRO-DPMNE. He also added that the SPO, by doing so, have ruined their own credibility.

“The press conference held by the Special Public Prosecution’s Office was full of empty charges and case files which they then refer for investigation, it just shows that this prosecution has been seized by a group of people, who are deeply party motivated and there only mission is to tarnish people part of the VMRO-DMPNE and help get the SDSM to power. This was not the idea when we were in talks about the formation of such a prosecution and it will bring down all the SPO’s credibility”, stated Nikola Gruevski on tonight’s interview for “Sitel” TV just before the celebrations began of the party’s 26th birthday.

He then turned to the NGO’s and raised the question why do 80 percent of the funding for NGO’s come from one place and why do all have the same aim, to be against VMRO-DPMNE, or anti-VMRO.

“The question here is why is it that the ‘Sorosoid’ NGO’s which 80 percent most of the time are against the VMRO-DPMNE, and are always, always on the side of the SDSM, regardless of who is in power, and who the opposition are? In these 26 years, did the VMRO-DPMNE not manage to make one step or proposal that the sponsor of these NGO’s liked? Or is it that the SDSM did not do one anything wrong. At least one step. How could someone be so bothered because the VMRO-DPME wants to form an independent state with all the attributes it deserves and fights to get the country strong, a state which will apprise its people through democratic elections, not for anyone or anything else. VMRO-DPMNE will always rely on the people and their will, as for the SDSM they rely on outside help and foreign interests”, said Gruevski. He also added, that in all elections until now from 1994-2004, the ruling party has won because of the people, and won because they never received outside help, unlike the SDSM.


Civil sector with a letter for Hahn: To postpone early elections


Skopje, 14 January, 2016 - 17:35 (META) 

More than 70 civil society organizations, platforms and initiatives today sent a letter to Commissioner Johannes Hahn and other international active officials about resolving the political crisis, where they have pointed out that at this current point in time, key requirements have not been met and that the atmosphere is not favorable for holding free, fair and democratic elections.

“ We, the civil society organizations demand the EU, and the USA and all other domestic and foreign factors engaged in the resolution of the crisis to acknowledge these arguments and postpone the early parliamentary elections until the crucial preconditions related to the elections and set forth in the Przino Agreement and the Urgent Reform Priorities are enabled. Our single objective is to ensure actual fair, democratic and free climate in the country for the elections to take place, which would enjoy the trust of all citizens and would be recognized as articulation of their political will and choice.” Said Fani Karanfilovska-Panovska, the Executive Director of the foundation “Open Society”.

Bojan Maricic from the Macedonian Centre for European Education commented that the SEC has not been fully constructed and that it doesn’t functions in full capacity, because the upgrade of the electoral roll has not yet begun, there has been no agreement on reforms in the media.

“All these procedures require at least one to two months of institutional preparations, whereas the cleaning and updating of the Voters List would take up to three or four months of intensive work. In case this process remains unfinished prior to the start of election campaigning, holding the elections on the set date would become extremely risky and would open space for further complication of the existing political crisis, resulting in major damage for the citizens and the country.” Said Bojan Maricic.

The civil society organizations in their letter pointed out to Johannes Hahn, that VMRO-DPMNE and DUI, the parties in power, constantly entertained and obstructed the implementation of the Przhino Agreement. They appealed to all political parties involved in the negotiation process, to act responsibly and democratically, and to urgently implement the agreed solutions and to reach an agreement on everything which needs to be resolved.


The “Open Society” Foundation is undesirable in Russia


Moscow, 30 November, 2015 - 16:05 (META) 

The Russian Prosecutions Office today determined that the George Soros Foundation “Open Society” and the  “OSI Asistens” foundation are not welcome in Russia. When the Prosecutions Office specified the reasons behind the decision, they simply said they pose a threat to the constitutional order of Russia.

A spokeswoman, Marina Gridnjeva for the Prosecution said the decision was made based on the request of the Federation Council (upper house of Parliament) in July this year, the involvement of these organizations are on the list of undesirable NGOs.

On this list among others were I-National Fund for Democracy, the International Republican Institute, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and “Freedom House”.


Civil society organizations launch campaign “We deserve better”


Skopje, 31 October, 2015 - 14:24 (META) 

Civil Rights Activists and NGOs at noon today started the campaign “We deserve better.” At the stand, placed in front of Mother Teresa’s memorial house, the activists handed out leaflets that explained why the citizens should always ask for more. Activist Nikola Pisarev said that they believe in the capability of society and the minds of citizens. “We deserve better,” a civil action in which we, the citizens talk about our daily problems and our urgent need for a better life. With our actions we will fill the gap which was created between the activities of politicians, the Przhino Agreement and actual real requirements of daily life of citizens. We citizens have the right to loudly and publicly talk about politics, because our lives are everyday politics. Our voice is important every day, not just during the elections”, said Pisarev.

He added that the government should answer any and all questions for the needs of the citizens regardless of whether they support it or not.

“We deserve more than a piece of bread, an honest government, to vote without fear. We deserve hospitals will treat us, not infect us, we deserve decent schools for our children, clean air and these are the things you should ask for. Not to be reconciled with the fact that any worse and that could be worse. You have to ask what our citizens as follows – said Pisarev.

At the same time, this same action began in Stip. Activist Goran Trajkov announced that it will discuss with citizens about their real needs. In addition, they want to fill the gap created by the activities of politicians.

“Politicians have forgotten about the citizens and their problems, and the need to continually seek solutions for civil problems”, Traikov said.

The action will be based on field interviews, and direct communication with citizens, and will be conducted by more than 200 civil society activists from 70 civil society organizations in 30 major towns in Macedonia.


NGO: Hate speech instead of freedom of expression


Тетово, 23 April, 2015 - 17:48 (META) 

Instead of freedom of expression, there is hate speech in Macedonia, say representatives of the NGOs who participated on the debate titled “Freedom of Speech” in Tetovo today.

Insults and calumnies suffered from different categories of citizens rarely come to the court, said civic activist Bekim Asani.

– The hate speech is widespread in Tetovo. Given the diversity of the population of different ethnic and religious backgrounds, hate speech much affects interethnic relations in our city – said Asani.

Participants of the debate said that freedom of expression is often censored when criticizing the government.

– Due to the pressure that is done by government structures, much of the press created the phenomenon of self-censorship. Unfortunately, we are facing a lack of independent media and, therefore, often social media become means which can freely communicate the views of citizens and associations – said Uranija Pirovska of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights.

Freedom of speech and expression of the civil society, students and high school students is also prevented with threats and pressures, emphasized NGO Info Center.

However, participants in the debate pointed out that, despite the pressures and intimidation, the majority of citizens are opening their eyes, and are encouraged to freely express their opinions and to demand their rights through protests, as in the case of university and high school students and freelancers.


Civil associations are losing money because of the inefficiency of the state


Скопје, 19 February, 2015 - 17:03 (META) 

In two unrealized calls for using money from European funds, Macedonia lost more than 1.7 million which have been earmarked for the construction and sustainability of civil society. Civic organizations reacted to this at today’s press conference. They say they are concerned and disappointed by the cancellation of two calls from the IPA program for pre-accession assistance of the European Union.

– The concern is even greater because the reason for the cancellation, according to information published by the Ministry of Finance, is untimely completion of the evaluation of applications. This is dangerous because the state either has no money or it has only for those it considers its own – said Ljupcho Petrovski from the Macedonian Center for European Education.

Fani Karanfilova from Foundation “Open Society Institute Macedonia” feels that non-use of this European aid shows the situation with state reforms.

– The loss of these funds means that we regress with the reforms. I think that the state, which has no political will, but also the EU, which didn’t say the right words when it should have, are to blame for this – says Karanfilova.

Malinka Ristevska-Jordanova from “Institute for European Policy” says that, with the procedures, the Government wants to show that it doesn’t care how civil organizations are funded.

Bojan Marichik from the Macedonian Center for European Education says they will react to the Ministry of Finance (Central Finance and Contracting Sector), the Secretariat for European Affairs and the Delegation of the European Union in Macedonia.

– If we continue this way, the current 1.7 million euros won’t be the only lost funds. The number can reach up to ten million. To alleviate and overcome such situations, we require transparent and thoroughly investigation of the reasons for these actions and failed to explain what measures will be taken to prevent administrative inefficiency. Also, a report should be published after the investigation, which will provide measures in order something like this does not happen again, as well as recommendations for implementing enhanced surveillance for future calls – said Marichik.