PES Visit FYR Macedonia: "European values must be respected"
The PES has followed with increased concern the recent events in FYR Macedonia. This is why PES decided to visit the country, to talk to our associate party from SDSM, a PES member and also to get a comprehensive understanding of the situation in the ground. Today the PES delegation has spoken with journalists and members from civil society, and with the leadership of SDSM. Tomorrow they will meet the EU Representation, and Ministers from the Government (Deputy Prime Minister Fatmir Besimi and Minister of Interior Gordana Kanjkuloska).
PES President Sergei Stanishev: “We are here to listen and get an understanding of the current situation. We will not draw any conclusions before an independent investigation into the matter has taken place. The important thing is that European values are being respected. This means freedom of expression, rule of law, division of powers and the independence of the judiciary. Opposition, media and civil society need to be able to function in complete freedom and without any restrictions. The constitutional rights and freedoms of all Macedonian citizens need to be guaranteed”.
“We want to ensure that all the allegations and revelations are being investigated and treated in an impartial and independent manner. We would also like to reach out to our partners from the EPP, to encourage their partner VMRO-DPMNE to resolve the situation in a correct and transparent way. We are happy to support all mediation efforts necessary, for the benefit of the citizens of FYR Macedonia”.
Richard Howitt MEP, Socialist and Democrat rapporteur in the European Parliament, for the country's EU accession, added: "If allegations of criminality are proven, the political implications are not just within the country, but will very much affect this country's external interests too. No individual can be above the law, but no individual can be above the exercise of the law either”.
"There is a sad history in this country, in this region and in other parts of Europe of systems of surveillance and of legal charges being waged against individuals for political purposes. These practices have no place today in this country or in Europe".
The PES strongly supports EU candidate countries on their path to EU membership. We regularly work with our partners in the region to show support and exchange experiences. The last EU progress report on FYR Macedonia has raised serious concerns about blurring lines between party-politics and the government, selective justice and government control over the media. The recent events show that the situation hasn’t improved, quite to the contrary. We sincerely hope that the government of FYR Macedonia takes the EU’s concerns to heart and makes a genuine effort to comply with EU fundamental rights.