Following his meeting with VMRO-DPMNE President Hristijan Mickoski, European People’s Party President Joseph Daul demanded that Government ensures the upcoming presidential elections in Macedonia are fully transparent and democratic. This comes after Mickoski, who is meeting EPP officials in Brussels, warned against plans by the Zoran Zaev Government to rig the elections and to avoid the rules put in place to guarantee that the opposition has mechanisms to ensure the elections are fair.

We talked about the importance for the country to implement the reforms needed to remain on its Euro-Atlantic path. The upcoming presidential elections were also on the agenda, and I insisted on the necessity for them to be fully transparent and democratic, Daul declared over his social media accounts following the meeting.

Under the so-called Przino rules, the Prime Minister and key ministers must resign 100 days before a general election and the ministers have to be replaced with opposition officials to ensure the vote is free and fair. The Government is avoiding a challenge to hold early general elections along with the presidential elections in an attempt to avoid activating these rules, while ignoring concerns over mass vote rigging as recently as the September 2018 name referendum.
Mickoski also discussed the political persecution of opposition officials and activists in Macedonia, and the growing crime and corruption problem with Daul.

World institutions are adding Macedonia to the lists of countries who produce Government protected corruption. The latest Transparency International report puts Macedonia among the worst ranked countries in Europe. We face a worsening economic situation, and are now near last in GDP growth on the continent. This endangers our European perspective, Mickoski said during the meeting.

The VMRO-DPMNE leader is in Brussels for a series of meetings at the EPP assembly. Following the meeting, Mickoski said that he and Daul agreed that VMRO will deepen its cooperation with the EPP.

Macedonia must move forward, but we must also establish principles and values, we must re-establish trust in the system, put an end to the political pressures and commit to unconditional rule of law, Mickoski said.

In Brussels Mickoski met with other EPP officials, such as the Vice President of the European People’s Party and chairman of the EP’s Committee on Foreign Relations, David McAllister, and members of European Parliament Eduard Kukan and Ivo Vajgl, who are rapporteurs for Macedonia.

Both EPP members from Macedonia and Greece, VMRO-DPMNE and New Democracy, oppose the so-called Prespa deal to rename Macedonia, which was negotiated by the socialist parties from both countries, without opposition input and against the wishes of the majority of the citizens. Weber was at one point quoted by a left wing news site from Brussels as allegedly being supportive of the deal, but shortly after he denied ever being interviewed on the issue and expressed support for New Democracy, which voted against the renaming deal.