EU: Macedonia Must Build Consensus

10 November 2008 Skopje – Macedonia must build a climate of trust and political responsibility if it wishes to join the European Union, the EU’s ambassador in the country said on Monday.

In an interview with the Makfax News Agency, Erwan Fouere said a “climate of trust and political responsibility is the best way to respond to citizens’ aspirations, who all are crying out for progress toward the European Union”. He urged the political leaders in the country to put aside their political quarrels and to start working together.

Earlier this month the European Commission issued its annual report on the country’s progress towards the EU, in which it noted that Macedonia did not meet the political criteria for opening accession talks. The Commission expressed concern about June’s parliamentary elections that were marred by violence and irregularities.

Fouere says that “good (local and presidential) elections next year” as well as “proper political dialogue in a spirit of consensus and achieving reforms” will be crucial if the country hopes to get a firm date for opening accession talks in next year’s Commission report.

Meanwhile, on Friday, the main opposition party, the Social Democrats, tabled a request for holding a parliamentary session on the report. “One of the main objections in the report refers to lack of political dialogue. By this initiative, we are not seeking for culprits, quite the contrary, we seek to rectify this shortcoming highlighted in the report,” said the Social Democrats.

The party has already argued that this is the worst Commission report ever, and has blamed the “incompetent governance” of the ruling centre-right VMRO DPMNE party.

Macedonia has been an EU candidate country since 2005.

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