Wednesday, 13 December 2017 | News today: 13

Commissioner Hahn: National interests require support from all key players

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EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn said Tuesday that one of the main goal of his visit to Skopje was to note the continuous interest of Brussels for developments in the country and to see firsthand that both the government and the opposition were fully committed to the EU integration process and everything related to it.

Asked why he had asked for a meeting with the leader of the opposition party VMRO-DPMNE, Nikola Gruevski, without scheduling a meeting with the presidents of BESA and DPA, Hahn said the EU had invested a lot in Macedonia, had managed many situations. Comprehensive focus on the urgent reform processes is the next step, he noted.

“It is necessary to adopt all laws in the sphere of judiciary, intelligence and public administration, which are considered crucial for getting a positive recommendation from the EU. We hope it would happen sometime next year, in February, hopefully negotiations will be launched in 2018. It is our goal and to that end I met with the opposition party to underline that when it comes to national interests, and EU perspective is one of them, support is required from all key actors, both in the government and in opposition,” stated Commissioner Hahn.

Amongst other things, he said his visit aimed at providing guarantees from all key players that they were committed to EU perspectives. Hahn said he was assured by Gruevski at their meeting after being told that VMRO-DPMNE was focused on the country’s EU perspective and that the opposition party would play a constructive role.

The EU, Hahn said, is noticing that the country is making improvements in terms of rule of law, which has been proven by OSCE/ODIHR’s assessment of the local elections in October.

Asked whether the Macedonian political parties in a meeting at the Jean Monnet House outside Paris would discuss the name dispute with Greece and whether Macedonia should make concessions, the EU Commissioner stated that the Macedonian politicians were responsible before the citizens to find a solution.

“I wouldn’t like to comment on the issue, it’s still early, however it is a positive thing to be implementing confidence building measures,” Commissioner Hahn said welcoming the Macedonia-Bulgaria friendship treaty, which is expected to be ratified in Parliament by the year’s end.