No solution in Brussels over Macedonia’s crisis

Macedonian political party leaders’ meeting with EU Commissioner Hahn in Brussels about political crisis draws blank

Photo by: Twitter
Photo by: Twitter

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn met with the leaders of the four main political parties of Macedonia in Brussels yesterday to continue discussions on finding a solution for the political crisis in the country.

EU Delegation head Ivo Vajgl, US Ambassador to Skopje Jess Baily and Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Alain Le Roy were also present.

Commissioner Hahn yesterday on his personal account tweeted that there is yet to be a final deal in talks on Macedonia’s political crisis, saying he is very disappointed about the lack of responsibility and leadership.

He also said that citizens of Macedonia deserve better democracy, the rule of law, and a European future, adding that they won't give up on finding a solution.

“The European Union urges all parties - in the interest of their country and its citizens - to find a lasting political compromise without any delay and come forward with concrete proposals to this end, building on the agreement already reached in Skopje on June 2” Hahn said on the statement.

Macedonian leaders agreed, on June 2, to go to early election in end of April 2016.

Hahn also stated that the reform commitments contained therein, to which all party leaders are committed, must be implemented as a matter of urgency and this is essential for the country to make any progress on the Euro-Atlantic path.

The European Commission would now consider how to best contribute to the political process in the country and remains ready to facilitate discussions, said Hahn.

The talks in Brussels were set up to hammer out the details of the election as well as needed reforms, with most of the country's key political actors in attendance, including the leaders of the main parties.

The Macedonian crisis started in January after the illegal release of phone records of high ranking government officials by opposition leader Zoran Zaev.

He accused Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski of corruption and electoral fraud, according to the information gained from the wiretaps.

Gruevski and government officials denied allegations, saying the recordings were completely fabricated and manipulated, and claimed that it was an attack on national security.

Nevertheless, Zaev continues to leak wiretaps to the public.

Early on May 9, Macedonian security forces clashed with ethnic Albanians believed to belong to the Kosovo Liberation Army in Kumanovo. As a result of this conflict 22 people were killed, including eight Macedonian police officers.

Protesters later hit the streets accusing Prime Minister Gruevski of attempting to distract focus away from the wiretaps.

After this operation, Zaev released another wiretap accusing Gruevski covering up the death of a journalist in 2013, which led to more protests calling on Gruevski to resign.

On May 19, Gruevski and Zaev met in Strasbourg, France, for a 10-hour meeting about the crisis but no solution was agreed.

TRTWorld and agencies