Through authentic interpretation, the Government of North Macedonia, together with Parliament and various government institutions, are putting right the injustice the former VMRO-DPMNE government inflicted on non-governmental organizations. NGOs were penalized and unjustly fined for mistakes they had not committed. This was today stated by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Radmila Šekerinska. She added that through the misinterpretation of parts of the law that did not exist or through regulations that were insufficiently precise to be abused, the then government led by Nikola Gruevski, punished NGOs and attempted to financially ruin them, in order to silence them, report Portalb.mk.
After consultations with several government institutions and Parliament, Šekerinska said that a positive opinion was given, and the Government adopted the authentic interpretation of the law that solves this problem.
“With this authentic interpretation, along with previous changes to the law, this Government has shown that it does not want to leave any grey zones that would allow blackmail, intimidation or manipulation in the future. This way, the solution will guarantee that all state institutions will not be able to intimidate or exert pressure on those who do not share the same political convictions”, Šekerinska said.
Critically-minded NGOs that were targeted by the former VMRO-DPMNE regime have welcomed the move, saying that it eliminates the injustice inflicted on them just because they were critical.
“This is good news, it puts an end to the injustices carried out against several non-governmental organizations during Gruevski’s regime and it’s another blow to the tendentious curses directed at us and at the same time it once again highlights our professional work. While it is difficult to forget the institutional pressure exerted on us through the Financial Police and the Public Revenue Office, as well as pressure through the media controlled by the then government, it is nevertheless good to formally shut down this unfair process that damages not only the non-governmental sector but which has also weakened democracy in the country”, said the director of the Metamorphosis Foundation, Bardhyl Jashari.
Director of the Foundation Open Society Macedonia (FOSM), Fani Karanfilova-Panovska, said that it was necessary for this government to find a formal way to bring an end to all the activities carried out by representatives of the former government led by VMRO-DPMNE, in the context of political persecution against non-governmental organizations and eventually bring an end to all cases.
“This was one of the ways to bring an end to the proceedings against NGOs. Now, we need to find remedies in order for the institutions to put an end to these proceedings, in this case the Public Revenue Office,” says Karanfilova-Panovska.
Otherwise, since the process of involving NGOs in the implementation of the “3-6-9” plan by the new government of Macedonia began, the civil sector were also asked to investigate the process of “Desorosization”. Even EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn urged for changes in the attitude and approach towards non-governmental organizations.
NGOs who were critical were the target of numerous and frequent attacks both from the Public Revenue Office and the Financial Police. Thirteen of them were controlled by the Financial Police whose aim was to find out how much money NGOs received from USAID during the implementation of their activities.
As well as Gruevski, the former President of Macedonia, Gjorge Ivanov, who during his stay in Hungary, a country that also attacks NGOs, said that “control and transparency in the financing of the work of NGOs must be toughened, all doubt must be removed and a distinction should be made between organizations that really work in the interest of the people and those who hide behind the NGO name”.