The new President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, as former German Foreign Minister, a responsibility which he held until early last month, among other things, was active in the process of resolving the political crisis in Macedonia.
His involvement. although was not very publicly exposed, it was of crucial importance in getting the Macedonian parties to the negotiating table in the middle of last year, which was reflected in the achievement of the annex to the Przino Agreement or the agreement of July the 20th. The Agreement would go on to define the rules of the game that led to the election of December 11, 2016.
- On May the 4th, last year, Steinmeier appointed as his personal envoy on the crisis in Macedonia the Ambassador of Germany in Vienna, Johannes Haindl. The move came after serious disruption of relations between with the then facilitator in the negotiations Peter Vanhoutte and VMRO-DPMNE, and the statement by EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn to the Bulgarian media. He stated “it is not important how many parties participate in the elections (which were then scheduled for April the 24th, 2016, or June 5, and VMRO-DPMNE was the only party who said they would participate in them) it is only important that they are held. “
- On April the 15th, 2016, he criticized the amnesty given to politicians in Macedonia, and said that President Gjorge Ivanov was harming the standards of the rule of law and the rule of law itself, adding that the President undermined the work of the Special Prosecutor and their mission “to investigate allegations of abuse of power.”
- On April the 28th, Steinmeier said he hoped that the “political parties in Macedonia understand that the growing instability would make the country’s path towards the European Union and NATO very difficult.” His statement was one of the few, if not the only one at that time which came from the international community when uncertainty in the country increased to the political crisis, and on the streets every day there were protests against the decision by President Gjorge Ivanov to pardon officials and their close associates. A few days after these events, the German Foreign Ministry announced their decision to send Haindl to Macedonia.
- On May the 19th, the German Foreign Ministry welcomed the decision to postpone the elections on June the 5th and urged for the amnesty to pardon the politicians to be withdrawn, after which Ivanov did in the second half of May.
- On September the 1st, the day after the decision to postpone parliamentary elections to be held on December the 11th, Steinmeier welcomed the agreement between the Macedonian parties and stated that we must avoid further obstructions for the country and its path towards the EU and the Special Public Prosecution remains important and has to go on with their work.
- On December the 12th, that day after the election, Steinmeier said that “the elections are an important step in resolving the political crisis in the country” and that “ now is the time to form a government, as soon as possible, which will use its mandate to implement urgent reforms, and the SPO must be allowed to do their work with no obstructions and to find and punish those who abused their power and authority.”