Hahn: The opposition to return to the Assembly and the scandal with the recordings to be investigated


“There are some imperfections that need to be resolved, the electoral code to be modified, the voter list to be reviewed and some other items. On the other hand, I must say that the last election, and several previously in the country and the region, were monitored by OSCE and had a generally positive report, which listed some irregularities, but the report on the elections that were held in April last year was generally positive,” said EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn in his speech at the Atlantic Council in Washington.

EU Commissioner urged the opposition to return to the Assembly in order to be able to implement recommendations of the European Commission.

– There’s a big scandal that no one can ignore. There are 22,000 recordings. Not to mention the content, which is something different. We feel that there should be a two-way reaction to this. One is political and we appeal for the opposition to return to the Assembly and to deal with the issue in a common political way, through debate at the Assembly, by forming investigative commissions and so on. But this also is a criminal case and it should be dealt with based on international and European standards. Therefore we offered it and this was also accepted by the partners, to include international experts dealing with such issues. And all parties have agreed to accept and implement all recommendations made by the European Commission, especially when it comes to rule of law and judicial independence. And in order to analyze, but also to implement this, we need time and therefore agreed to elections in spring next year, although some wanted elections to be held earlier – said Hahn.

According to him, in 2005, Macedonia received candidate status for the country as a possible member of the EU, and in 2008, a promise to join NATO. The two things didn’t happen and now we are seeing the consequences.

– It is now necessary and that is why I got involved, feeling a moral obligation, but also because it is not only a matter of the country, but also of the region. One should not underestimate the political consequences if this country does not function given the ethnic tensions and elements. Therefore we have great interest to solve this. To maintain, at least, the European perspective, the country should deal with domestic problems and imperfections. Now we have very serious internal crisis and, hopefully, with the agreement of last Tuesday, we made a huge step forward. That’s why we offered them, if you will, a carrot, but also a stick, to consider areas in the country of fundamental importance, as we have already started negotiations with them. In the European Union we have chapters 23 and 24 under which we negotiate with possible future member states. These two chapters refer to the rule of law, media freedom, independence of the judiciary and so on. We will apply this methodology and simultaneously prepare new elections as we agreed in order to be fair, transparent and reasonable elections. I hope that this will contribute to stabilization of the country and would return its European and Euro-Atlantic perspective – said Hahn.

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