EU Commissioner Hahn Ensures Next Steps After Last-Year Elections in Macedonia

Time: 12:30 a.m. CEST

EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn (C) looked at media after the news conference in Skopje with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikola Poposki (R) and Vice-Prime minister Vladimir Peshevski. (L)

European Commissioner on Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Johannes Hahn arrived in Skopje for the ministerial meeting for the Western Balkans countries, but ended with separate meetings with politicians, which political parties won parliamentarian mandates on December 11, early general elections in Macedonia

As Hahn today stated at the news conference in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he sat next to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikola Poposki and Vice-Prime minister, Vladimir Peshevski, clearly stated he arrived in Skopje to listen to what the political parties had to say.

It has been about two months after the end of the elections and Macedonia misses the constitution of the new government due to the outcome in the mandates of the political parties. Each of the political parties needs another coalition partner to ensure 61 votes in the parliament.

Hahn, who arrived in Skopje last night did not specify any deadline for the government formation, but said the country, needs government as soon as possible. As Hahn stated, the elections are necessary important step, but the next is simply to make a new government.

“The more solid majority in the Parliament it is, the better it is, but the final decision has to be taken by the politicians here on the ground. They are accountable to their voters,” Hahn stressed at the news conference, before heading to Parliament for the meetings.

Commissioner’s face shared less optimism, than his words about future economic or security challenges, or even opportunities and cooperation. Hahn requested dedication to the European agenda for the country, which name he is avoiding to mention due to the name issue, disputed by the European Union member Greece, which holds Macedonia’s integrations on holds.

Combined with two years of political crisis, even optimists looked with disbelieves on prompt solution to form a new government in Macedonia. Hahn had meetings with presidents of the parliamentarian political parties, after which each of them explained briefly to the media on their messages to Hahn and to each other.

Using media, president of SDSM Zoran Zaev said that as a coalition lead by SDSM, they are doing everything to end the process of having signatures to pursue negotiations for government formation.

President of DUI, Albanian party that holds 10 mandates, probably key for any coalition government, said he informed Hahn for all of the five options the party is reviewing for overcoming the crisis. Ahmeti said to media, he requests for written suggestions after he would call for DUI’s presidency to discus.

President of DPA, Menduh Taci said he talked to all, but he would not give support to any government.

President of VMRO-DPMNE, Nikola Gruveski talked with Hahn, but according to media reports, he did not give a statement. Earlier in the day, member of this party, current Minister for Foreign Affairs and elected parliamentarian Nikola Poposki said assured that all political parties elected in the Macedonian parliament are for the European integration. “But, we need to respect the rules for sovereignty right of Macedonian voters to have opportunity to make decisions and we should not allow breach of that rule,” Poposki stated.

After the meeting with Gruevski, Hahn would measure what he could speak in the morning with President Gjorgje Ivanov at president residency, facing himself with the open challenges for fulfilling July 15 Agreement, signed in Skopje on same day in 2015, as a pathway for political crisis in the country.

But, with name issue burden, accompanied with delivered Albanian platform, including new conditions from Albanians, the European Commissioner on enlargement could face old history problems in the Western Balkans. Certainly, Hahn could expect of the interim Prime minister Emil Dimitriev to deliver at least short results on the country European agenda, delivered each year through the annual progress reports of the European Commission for the candidate countries.


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