Macedonian leaders leave France without a deal

Gruevski and Zaev head back to Macedonia without having settled political dispute causing civil unrest in the country

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

While some members of the Macedonia’s political opposition spent their third day in the tent-camp outside the parliament building in the capital city Skopje, Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and opposition leader Zoran Zaev met again on Wednesday in Strasbourg without results.

After the meeting it was officially announced that talks will continue in Skopje on May 26.

The European Parliament has stated that both parties agreed “to put the interest of the country first” and both of them stressed their commitment to the EU integration process.

The statement continued, saying that EU negotiators “welcomed the efforts of the party leaders to work towards an agreement in the interest of all citizens of the country."

Gruevski and Zaev also met on Tuesday evening in Strasbourg for ten hours to find common ground to solve the ongoing political crisis in Macedonia.

There were no press releases after Tuesday’s meeting. On Wednesday Zaev said after returning to Skopje that he and Gruevski have “still have not entered into negotiations therefore nothing is announced in details.”

“There are no negotiations at this point, they haven't really started yet. When we start talking about an interim government or the election lists, then we can expect an official announcement on behalf of the EU,” Zaev said.

“It is not about secrecy but giving chance to the negotiation process.”

Opposition leader Zoran Zaev organised a street demonstration on Sunday with thousands of people in the capital city Skopje, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski who is under fire due to wiretapping and corruption allegations which have emerged in the past several months.  

Some of the demonstrators, including Zaev himself, have decided to put up tens of tents outside the parliament building. Protesters said they will not leave the “tent-camp” until Gruevski and the parliament resigns.

Supporters of Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski also gathered in the capital city of Skopje for a pro-government rally on Monday amid calls for him to resign.

Gruevski has been accused by protesters and his opponents of wiretapping, corruption, weak policies and being responsible for an ailing economy.

Macedonia’s interior and transport ministers together with the head of intelligence resigned after Gruevski’s government came under pressure in the wake of the opposition’s wiretapping allegations.

The resignation of those top officials coincided with an incident in Kumanovo last Sunday when at least eight police officers and 14 members of an “armed group” were killed after a day-long clash in the northern border city.

Kumanovo is one of the areas of Macedonia with a dense ethnic Albanian population, and an ethnic uprising was staged in the city May 2001.

TRTWorld and agencies