PES President Sergei Stanishev participates in Skopje rally in solidarity with FYR Macedonia



Today PES President Sergei Stanishev will join Macedonian citizens and opposition leaders in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, to call for democratic reform and to denounce violence, together with representatives of sister parties. This reflects the PES family’s deep concerns about last weekend's terrorist attack in Kumanovo, the continuing failure of the government to act on allegations arising from leaks exposing mass surveillance in the country and legal threats against the leader of our sister party SDSM, Zoran Zaev.

Sergei Stanishev said: “We are in Skopje today to support Macedonian citizens who want democracy, rule of law and transparent institutions. The political crisis in Macedonia has been going on for too many months now. I call on all political forces to put all their efforts in finding a stable political solution to the crisis. The PES has always supported Macedonia’s efforts to join the EU and NATO and have long worked with them to this end. Yet the current government’s failure to defend itself against allegations of mass surveillance and threatening the opposition casts serious doubt on its commitment to democratic principles and values. Worryingly, it could be a backwards step in its progress towards EU and NATO membership.”

On Monday 11 May leaders and officials from Social Democratic parties of the EU and the Western Balkans gathered in Sofia for the PES annual 'Western Balkans Conference' to discuss EU integration, economic and social consequences of Enlargement, and the decline of fundamental values in the region. Given the current events, the situation in FYR Macedonia was high on the agenda and the PES issued a statement deeply condemning the events in Kumanovo and urged the government to take all necessary measures to avoid any further bloodshed and call for national unity. We continue to fully support the fundamental democratic right of citizens to assemble and peacefully protest, and reiterate our appeal to all sides to refrain from any violence.

Sergei Stanishev will be joined at the rally by MEPs Knut FLECKENSTEIN and Richard HOWITT on behalf of the S&D Group in the European Parliament and Swedish MPs Pyry NIEMI and Jasenko OMANOVIC from PES Swedish member party SAP.