Progress report sparks debates and criticism in Skopje

Progress report sparks debates and criticism in Skopje

IBNA Special Report

Skopje, October 9, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Naser Pajaziti

The progress report of the European Commission on FYR Macedonia once again recommended for the country to launch its accession talks, but it also underlined criticism about the developments in the country, which has sparked debates and reactions in Skopje.

Political parties and non government organizations have commented the progress report, which says that the country finds itself in an impasse, by making steps backwards in the aspect of reforms, political dialogue and cross ethnic relations.

Macedonian opposition said that the European Commission report is not a progress report, but a regress report as far as FYROM is concerned.

“The report is more critical and dramatic than last year. The government brought the country to an impasse. This was also proved by the European Commission. The evaluations are more negative than for the neighboring countries. This is not a progress report, but a regress report”, declared the vice chairwoman of the largest opposition party LSDM (Macedonian Social Democratic League). According to her, the government is increasing its influence over institutions and media.

Reactions have also arrived from the party in power, VMRO-DPMNE of Premier Nikola Gruevski. The member of the leading committee of this party, Ilija Dimovski, accused the opposition of orchestrating dark scenarios in order for the country not to be recommended for the launch of accession talks.

“All of those who worked in order for our country not to be recommended for the talks, are sad today and try to minimize this recommendation. But they cannot exonerate themselves, because they work against the interest of the citizens”, declared Dimovski, adding that the EU must help in the European integration plan.

The same line was followed by the deputy prime minister for European integration and senior member of the Albanian party in power BDI (Democratic Union for Integration), Fatmir Besimi.

“It’s a positive thing that we obtained a fresh recommendation, but we also appreciate the appeal of European commissioner Fule for European leaders to help our country in the solution of the name dispute, because this issue has a direct impact in the process of integration”, declared Fatmir Besimi.

The ambassador of the European Union in Skopje, Aivo Orav has offered his comments on the report, by underlining that the report was clear and sincere.

“This report is not only critical, but it must be seen as a guideline for the implementation of reforms. The main concerns relate to the state control over media, freedom of speech, political dialogue, cross ethnic relations, fight against corruption and lack of the independence in the judicial system”, declared European ambassador Orav.

Political analyst and publicist Branko Geroski underlines that the report contains open criticism over the government and that clear conditions have been addressed to prime minister Nikola Gruevski, as to what the country must do in order for the recommendation to remain open.

“The commission wants the authorities to take decisive action and address concerns about the growing political influence on state institutions, the lack of an independent judicial system and freedom of speech. This must happen in case the country wants to preserve the recommendation for the opening of negotiations”, said Geroski.

With this progress report, the country once again secures a recommendation for the start of accession talks, but the report also said that FYROM is in an impasse and that reforms are lacking. /ibna/