Priebe: All resources and strength in Macedonia should be directed at the Rule of Law

Ohrid, 5 June, 2018 - 13:41 (META) 

I do not have a detailed insight into what has been happening over the past two years in terms of the two reports we drafted as an expert group, those of 2015 and last year. The EU Progress Report on Macedonia points to significant progress in certain areas, but there are also many areas with much yet to be done, to implement the necessary reforms in the EU integration process. It is obvious that the report focuses on the central issue and priority of the rule of law with all aspects that it implies, said Reinhard Priebe, who is participating in the International Scientific Conference on Security System Reforms held in Ohrid.

Priebe, who led the EU’s five-member EU expert group responsible for systemic issues, said in a statement to the media that he is no longer an EU official, but personally hopes that Macedonia and the countries of the region will make a step forward in the EU integration process.

“In any case, the reforms we have pointed out and pointed out in the EU Reports should be made, not only for the progress of that EU integration process, but more for the countries themselves and the citizens,” said Priebe.

He refused to set aside an area where politics, the state, and institutions should direct their reform processes.

“It’s a series of recommendations. Rule of law is key to bringing the EU closer, all resources and strength in society should be directed and targeted towards that goal”, added Priebe.

Osmani presents “18” plan to EU Ambassador Žbogar

Skopje, 1 June, 2018 - 0:16 (META) 

Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Bujar Osmani presented the government’s new reform plan “18” to EU Ambassador Samuel Žbogar and representatives of the EU Delegation to Macedonia, which, according to the Secretariat for European Affairs (SEA), the public will be informed after the next week’s government session.

At the beginning, Osmani expressed satisfaction with the “implementation of the “3-6-9″ plan”, in particular his valorization in one of the most positive reports for the Republic of Macedonia, which was accompanied by a clear and unconditional recommendation for negotiations by the European Commission,” read the statement from the SEA.

“The government is very determined to keep the reform agenda at the top its priorities and after the completion of the implementation of the “3-6-9″ plan, for which the Secretariat for European Affairs undertook the duty to prepare a new reform plan for 2018, whose implementation should end with the release of the new report by the European Commission, at the beginning of next year”, said Osmani.

He emphasized that the “18” plan, which is still in its final stages, is expected to be passed at a Government session next week, followed by a review by experts in the public and the civil sector, who are also expected to participate in its finalization.

Roth: Investigations must continue, SPO should be part of the prosecution

Skopje, 10 May, 2018 - 20:51 (META) 

State Minister of European Affairs at the German Foreign Ministry, Michael Roth, said that investigations related to wiretapping conversations must continue, and the Special Prosecutor’s Office should be integrated into the regular structures of the prosecution.

At the meeting with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev in Government, he was informed that the opposition was against continuing the mandate of the SPO.

“I must point out that the two-thirds of majority is a prerequisite for extending the mandate of the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office, but I was informed that the opposition is against the extension of the mandate, and therefore the SPO should be integrated into the regular structures of the prosecution. It’s a problematic solution, but if it works, it’s good”, Roth said at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

Zaev also said that the Strategy for Judiciary Reforms has been planned for the SPO to be part of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, as a separate unit which will continue its work. Roth said that it is important for the state to achieve concrete results in terms of good governance and the rule of law.

“Implementation and concrete results are essential. This is a government task, but not only is the government responsible for changes, but everyone in the country has the task of contributing to change, especially the opposition. A truly independent judiciary, along with law enforcement authorities, both have a key role in the fight against corruption”, Roth said. Today he will meet with the opposition and non-governmental organizations.

Šekerinska: Last year on April 27 we reached rock bottom and were on the brink of civil war

Washington, 27 April, 2018 - 15:38 (META) 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Radmila Šekerinska launched her official visit to the United States by taking part in a round table organized by the American Atlantic Council on the topic “The Balkans and NATO membership through the prism of Macedonia: High stakes in terms of global security and the fate of democracy in a small country “.

Šekerinska talked about the Balkans and the challenges it has faced in the past, the political crisis in Macedonia and the new reform processes, as well as the return of the country on its path to Euro-Atlantic integration.

“In these 10 months we have seriously focused on domestic reforms and on improving good neighborly relations. We focused on issues at the heart of Euro-Atlantic integration – free media, rule of law, interethnic relations and institutional resilience. We ask you to support Macedonia to receive an invitation to join NATO this year, because such a breakthrough can have a positive impact, which will create a new hope in the Balkans”, said the minister.

Turning to the events in Parliament that occured on the present day last year, Šekerinska said that last April, Macedonia “reached rock bottom”.

“The incident could have completely spun out of control and threatened to take the country a step closer to civil war. We had formed a majority in Parliament and everyone expected a new, reform-oriented government to be elected, and the people who wanted to stay in power saw that violence was their only way of staying. Fortunately the attempt was unsuccessful”, she said.

The Brdo-Brijuni process was first held in 2013 on a joint initiative of the presidents of the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Croatia, in Brdo near Kranj, Slovenia.

Tuntev: Macedonia has already wasted one opportunity, it will not get another

Skopje, 24 April, 2018 - 15:14 (META) 

The coordinator of SDSM’s parliamentary group, Tomislav Tuntev said that Macedonia is full of hope and there is sense of progress in the country. According to the EU report which confirms the commitment of the parliamentary majority and Parliament, while the opposition has contributed only with support given, regarding the adoption of law reforms.

“We must not forsake the pace due to the euphoria. In a not too distant past we have shown that we can divert from the road and destroy all commitments. The opposition is correct that we have previously received positive reports from the EU. But with bad governance and ill-thought policies, in a decade, we went back 10 years. We became a captive state”, Tuntev went on to say, one chance Macedonia has wasted, it will not get another opportunity.

According to the SDSM MP, the government has shown progress in dealing with the problem with Greece throughout the last 10 months. Tuntev said it is uncertain whether there will be a solution with the southern neighbor, but the implementation of the reforms should continue.

“My children, your children, all of our youth has already one leg outside the state. That’s why we have to act. They were too restricted, so they sought opportunities away from us and their homes. It is a fact that many years will have to be spent to repair the damage from bad and ruthless policies. Only the right strategy will speed up fully fledged EU membership. We deserve to live in a normal state”, Tuntev added.

Zaev: EU membership talks to be led by the best and brightest people from institutions

Skopje, 24 April, 2018 - 14:16 (META) 

At the session of the Committee, regarding European Affairs, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said that after the decision to start the negotiations for membership in the European Union, he will immediately begin to prepare the negotiating structure.

Zaev stressed that they were delighted with the European Commission’s recommendation, but at the same time they are continuing the “European dynamics”. The Prime Minister said that the Government was preparing the “18” plan, and will work with all political parties.

“After the adoption regarding the decisions for negotiations in June, we will prepare the negotiators. With this step, we will demonstrate our seriousness. We will need the best people from the institutions. We need to bear in mind that EU membership will open up the biggest topics, such as judicial reform, rule of law, human rights, and so on. A reformed state system will help us to get to the European political systems. We roll out our sleeves, there is lots of work to be done”, Zaev said .

Macedonia received a positive and unconditional recommendation in the Progress Report, but the final decision regarding the date for negotiations should be decided by the European Council in June.

Mogherini asks for responsibility, vision, pragmatism and courage in her address to Parliament

Skopje, 19 April, 2018 - 15:42 (META) 

When I think about the situation of this house a year ago, I can conclude that you have come a long way. The good news is that you are back on the path, you have overcome the worst political and institutional crisis and this is a great achievement to be proud of.

This was stressed by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Policy, Federica Mogherini, in her address to MPs in Parliament.

She added that a clear recommendation to start negotiations is an achievement not only of the government, but also of all institutions, the president, the parliament, the opposition, all parties, local authorities, civil society and the determination of citizens.

Mogerini stressed that the recommendation means that Brussels has recognized the achievements, but that more unity, more efforts and work will be needed in the future that will be appreciated again.

“You share the resposnability to care for the future of your citizens and the future of the country. The government has the responsibility to involve the opposition, and the opposition has the responsibility to make a contribution. You have an obligation to identify the national priorities that will be priorities for all citizens and you have an obligation to cooperate these priorities. There is no risk of losing anything in the country; what you can lose is not getting results. Your citizens are asking to unite in order to achieve these goals”, said Mogherini.

The EU High Representative expressed her satisfaction that the opposition returned to Parliament and added that the reforms that were adopted should be implemented, maintained and deepened. According to her, the government has taken good steps to deepen bilateral relations and expressed the hope that the talks with Greece will be finally resolved.

“Responsibility, vision, pragmatism and courage are and will be needed. It’s time to start running, running together, running with each other and with your neighbors and I’m convinced that with such a race you will get far”, added Mogherini.

Mogherini: You have returned on the path to the EU, celebrate and then get back to work

Skopje, 19 April, 2018 - 15:34 (META) 

At a press conference today, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and EU High Representative, Federica Mogherini, said that Macedonia deservedly received a clear recommendation for the start of negotiations with the EU.

“In ten months, we have made great progress in the European integration process. The reforms in many key areas, as well as the policies of friendship and good-neighborliness, are valued. We closed the dispute with Bulgaria, and we are on our way to close the dispute with Greece. The EU gave a well-deserved clean recommendation for the start of negotiations with the European Union. The recommendation for several years was conditioned by a deep political crisis and a backlash with the reforms”, Zaev said.

He reiterated that the Government will continue to fulfill the reform processes in the country and expressed hope that Macedonia will receive a date for the start of negotiations in June.

EU High Representative Mogherini said Macedonia was back on the path towards the EU and called on all those involved to work together.

“I bear the good news that the EC recommended the start of negotiations for membership. You have returned to a good path. You can celebrate and then return to the work at hand. This result was achieved by the Government and the opposition, and they need to continue the next steps together and take responsibility for it”, said Mogherini.

Regarding the name dispute and the statements made by Greece that a solution can not be reached by June, Mogherini says that the time ahead of Macedonia should be used positively and courageously and can not predict what would have happened before then.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said that if a solution is reached in May, there will be time for everything, and added that now is a good time to resolve the dispute with Greece.

Osmani: 90 percent of the “3-6-9” plan has been implemented, Ivanov to sign the Law on Languages

Skopje, 13 April, 2018 - 14:28 (META) 

Deputy Prime Minister in charge of European affairs, Bujar Osmani, said that 90 percent of Government’s reform plan “3-6-9” was completed which helped Macedonia to return on the right, Euro-Atlantic path.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that 95 percent of the measures would be implemented, but some of the reform laws, such as the law of courts, which require a two-thirds majority of MPs in Parliament, were not voted yesterday due to opposition’s request for additional consultations.

“Among other measures which are not implemented, it is the result of the voting on the law regarding legal aid has been returned to the government to finalize it, taking the code of ethics in Parliament, which is in the draft version and needs a consensus from all parliamentary political parties that we expect will be reached in May for meetings of the “Jean Monnet” process. Prior to adoption, it stands the Strategy for Cooperation between the Government and the Civil Sector and the Law on Foreigners, which is in parliamentary procedure”, said Osmani, and adding that the completion of the “3-6-9” plan does not end with the reform processes.

He stressed that all reforms were made through a transparent and inclusive process and that the notes from the civil sector and the opposition were implemented.

“I am giving you a message from Brussels that Macedonia has managed to implement a productive reform agenda and the road to the EU has been restored. The plan “3-6-9” has been successfully implemented and on April 17 we expect to be awarded with a positive report, the best for Macedonia so far, and a pure unconditional recommendation for the start of negotiations”, Osmani said.

Government’s analysis also includes the adoption regarding the Law on Languages as a final measure, although it is not put into function due to the so-called “pocket veto” by President Gjorge Ivanov. Osmani says this measure is marked as brought to completion because it has undergone all procedures and added that this law expresses the will of the parliamentary majority and the citizens. He urged Ivanov to sign the law and to be a cohesive factor in the society.

“Ivanov chooses to leave an empty book regarding his mandate, although he could be a cohesive factor. There are a few more days for him to do it. If he doesn’t do it, there are other ways for the law to be put into force, but we will wait to see what Ivanov will decide”, Osmani said.

Osmani, Mogherini meeting: We have delivered the reforms, we now expect a positive report

Brussels, 12 April, 2018 - 17:04 (META) 

Today in Brussels, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Bujar Osmani met with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Vice President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini.

Osmani’s cabinet informed that at the meeting, the Deputy Prime Minister presented the progress regarding the implementation of plan “3-6-9”, as well as progress in removing other political obstacles on the European integration path for the Republic of Macedonia.

“I come with good news from the Republic of Macedonia. Just as we promised nine months ago, we have delivered on time the reforms in the appropriate period for the Commission’s report, so to positively assess our progress”, Osmani said.

He also told Mogherini that the “3” section of the “3-6-9” plan Government voted with fair and free elections, that strategies and substantive reform laws were drafted in an inclusive procedure, so that relations with neighbors were improved and that it was expected to adopt the final reform laws that require a two-thirds majority.

As regards to the removal of political obstacles, Osmani pointed out the adoption of the Law on Languages as the last segment of the legislative part of the Framework Agreement and he expressed hope that its implementation will build a solid, stable and prosperous multicultural society in the Republic of Macedonia.

The Osmani-Mogherini meeting is being held in the wake of the release of the European Commission’s Report regarding the state and progress of the Republic of Macedonia, which will be released in a week’s time, on 17th of April.