Progress report addresses the issue of the Ohrid Agreement

Progress report addresses the issue of the Ohrid Agreement

IBNA Special Report

Skopje, October 10, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Naser Pajaziti

The Ohrid Agreement, which put an end to the 2001 conflict in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and brought peace between the two largest communities in the country, Macedonians and Albanians, is still not being fully applied and the progress report of the European Commission has once again addressed criticism in relation to this issue.

Brussels has demanded for this agreement to be implemented in full.

The progress report says that no progress has been made in the aspect of the implementation of this agreement, which secures many rights for Albanians, as the second largest community in the country.

“The Ohrid Agreement, which put an end to the 2001 conflict, offered a framework for the guaranteed multi ethnic character of society. But, the lack of trust between communities is still dominating. Tensions can be easily sparked with the wrong interpretation of events or incidents, such as it was the case after this year’s April elections and cross ethnic incidents accompanied by protests. There must be a proactive approach in promoting the multi-ethnic society”, underlines the European Commission progress report.

The report says that the Ohrid Agreement continues to be the basis of cross ethnic relations in the society. “There’s room for improvement in the parts against discrimination, fair representation, use of language and national symbols of the communities that live in this country. They have not yet been implemented like they should”, says the progress report.

Public personalities and political analysts say that the European Commission pointed out the failures in the implementation of the Ohrid Agreement and that the government is responsible for this.

Professor of political sciences at the University of Southeast Europe in Tetovo, Mirjana Malevska says that the implementation of the Ohrid Agreement is not in the right path.

“The Ohrid Agreement is technically being implemented, but the spirit of cooperation is lacking. The spirit of cooperation is the one that enables agreements between the government and the people and altogether, they must find a plan or a project for the improvement of cohabitation and to avoid the placement of unnecessary monuments. But, community is not a priority for political parties. Everyone talks about numbers and not about the spirit of the Ohrid Agreement. Albanians talk about the Ohrid Agreement more often, but they don’t seem to take this issue very seriously”, says Mirjana Malevska. According to her, more efforts should be made in order to improve trust between the two largest communities.

Political analyst, Ibrahim Mehmeti says that this agreement needs to be implemented in the technical and practical aspect.

“The Ohrid Agreement must be implemented in two aspects. The first one is the technical aspect, which relates to proportional employment, changes in the law, etc, which it must be said that they have been achieved up to a certain extent, but what’s problematic is the second aspect, which is the foundation of cohabitation and multi-culture. These relations are being built in a negative way, especially with the latest projects such as the Skopje 2014 project, which breaks the trust between ethnic groups”, declared Mehmeti.

According to him, the criticism addressed by the European Commission report are well founded, but he doesn’t see any willingness as far as the realization of the recommendations of the Ohrid Agreement is concerned.

The Ohrid Agreement was signed on August 13, 2001 between Macedonians and Albanians, putting a stop to the conflict between Macedonian security forces and National Liberation Army, which demanded more rights for Albanians. This agreement guarantees more rights for Albanians and all the parts of this agreement have been enshrined in the Constitution of the country. But, there is much hesitation for its implementation in the practical aspect. /ibna/