In his final address to Parliament, President Gjorge Ivanov explained the reason behind his refusal to sign a law, introduced as part of the so-called Tirana platform, that would’ve extended the use of the Albanian language in Macedonia beyond the degree determined in the Constitution.

The way in which it’s written, the law on the use of languages would completely block the work of our institutions. There is almost no article in that law that doesn’t violate some article of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia. It was adopted in the Parliament in violation fo its rules and procedures, said President Ivanov

Ivanov said that the Venice Commission and the procedure to adopt laws needed to expedite the EU accession of Macedonia were both abused in the pushing of this law through Parliament. The law introduced an obligation and the prospect of fines for public employees who don’t use the Albanian language in communication with citizens, and expanded its use outside of the municipalities where Albanians constitute a meaningful portion of the population.

The Macedonian language is a lingua franca of the country which helps members of different communities understand each other. It is part of our societal contract. Our force is in our diversity, and our diversity is guaranteed by the unity we have. An expression of that unity is the Macedonian language. If this unconstitutional law is put in effect, then the Macedonian language will cease to be the lingua franca uniting the Macedonian society, said President Ivanov.

The law was adopted by the Parliament twice, but President Ivanov refused to sign it. Speaker Talat Xhaferi has been announcing he will sign the law if Ivanov continues to refuse to do so.