Saturday, 15 December 2018 | News today: 1

MEPs Fleckenstein and Kukan expect name referendum to succeed

MEPs Knut Fleckenstein and Eduard Kukan urged the citizens of Macedonia to say Yes in the upcoming referendum emphasizing that the country’s European integration depended on it.

According to them, the dispute hinders the country’s integration bid because the European Union reaches consensual decisions.

“If the dispute with Greece remains unresolved, it means we will have the same problem in the future. All member states should make an unanimous agreement to reach a decision. You had a dispute with Greece, now there is a chance to finally solve it, and we will be very satisfied if that happens. It will be easier for everyone to speed things up, and therefore I urge you to say Yes,” German MEP Fleckenstein told a news conference in Skopje when asked what if the referendum failed.

Referring to the same question, Slovak MEP Kukan said that no Plan B was being considered.

“We are not thinking about Plan B. We are thinking about Plan A, about a positive outcome of the referendum that will pave Macedonia’s way toward the EU,” he added.

The two MEPs called the upcoming name referendum ‘a historic moment’ that could positively affect the European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations of Macedonia.

“The citizens should take part in the referendum and they should exercise their right to vote because of the importance of this referendum,” Kukan said adding that they had the right to be informed about the effects of their vote.

It’s up to the citizens of Macedonia to decide and it is everyone’s constitutional right to voice their opinion, he noted.

Fleckenstein stressed that the referendum outcome would set the course of the country’s future, of the citizens, their families and all future generations.

“Please, go out a vote, don’t say you don’t care. After 27 years, now you have the chance to start negotiations with the EU next year,” the German MEP noted.

In addition to the referendum, Kukan said, Macedonia in order to join the EU has to deliver visible results so as to allow the European Commission to recommend a date for the opening of negotiations.

According to him, general rules apply for every country and usually conclusions are always based on real results that have been delivered by a country. “The latest decision of the European Council reads that Macedonia and Albania have made progress and if these developments continue further, the Commission next year in June could make a positive decision,” said Kukan.

In fact, he answered a journalist question about the 2019 elections in the European Parliament and whether it could affect the decision on the opening of talks.

“I think it won’t drastically affect any future developments. Future conclusions will be based on how you are going to do your homework,” Kukan said.

Fleckenstein stated that reforms were as important as the referendum.

“We want to accelerate the process, which means that this government should implement reforms. But also, we should do our homework to reform the EU. Our voters, too, are afraid that the Union couldn’t function with additional members unless it is reforms,” he said.

The two MEPs praised the preparedness for participation in the Jean Monnet process of all parliamentary political parties. They said that the next round of dialogue was planned for December and January.