MIC – August 21, 2014 – 12:29pm

Experts welcome the initiative of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts (MANU) for harnessing all the resources in developing a strategy on Macedonia’s future development voiced at the roundtable “Prospects of Development of the Republic of Macedonia in the Post-Crisis Period” held in Ohrid on Tuesday. Although the initiative comes more than two decades of Macedonia’s independence, they do not see it as belated yet are fully aware that its realization largely depends on the Government’s will, Utrinski vesnik reports.

Former ambassador Dimitar Mircev says he strongly supports MANU’s initiative for drafting a strategic platform for development.

“There have been two or three similar endeavors so far but they all failed. Such an idea existed at the time of the expert government of late Prime Minister Nikola Kljusev and a few years later he formed the Center for Strategic Development at MANU. However, I don’t know the reasons why this center, which was meant to serve this purpose, has never been put to effect,” Mircev says.

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MIC – August 20, 2014 – 11:21am

The Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts (MANU) organized a roundtable entitled “Prospects of Development of the Republic of Macedonia in the Post-Crisis Period” in Ohrid on Tuesday, at which stress was laid on the need of developing a strategy that would offer a vision of how Macedonia should look like in 10, 15 or 20 years and that would be drafted in cooperation with all scientific institutions in the country. This, however, the academicians added, is hard to achieve considering that only 0.2 percent of GDP is spent on science.

The academies of Bulgaria and Montenegro have already drafted visions of their countries entitled “Bulgaria 2030” and “Montenegro in the Era of Competitiveness” respectively. Macedonia, too, should develop a strategy for its overall development that would encompass all areas. The last time MANU developed an economic strategy was in 2000, Vlado Kambovski, President of the Macedonian Academy, said.

In Kambovski’s view, the numerous terms that are constantly used to describe various states in the country should be closely defined.

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MIC – August 19, 2014 – 12:43pm

A lot of things in terms of whether and how the political crisis in Macedonia could be resolved will become much clearer as of next week when the summer vacation of Macedonia’s top political figures comes to an end, Utrinski vesnik reports.

While waiting for the autumn, which is frequently regarded as a key period for political breaks and major events, various are the forecasts of the political analysts as to how the situation in the Macedonian political arena may further unfold. Will there be a political deal whereupon the opposition will return to Parliament or will the resignations of the opposition MPs be verified which would raise a new dilemma of how to fill the vacated seats?

However, whatever the outcome, hardly anyone believes that the political situation could suspend the EC recommendation for letting Macedonia open EU membership negotiations even though it is quite on the cards that the knotty political dialogue and the parliamentary crisis will be taken note of in this year’s EC report on Macedonia’s progress.

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MIC – August 18, 2014 – 1:25pm

Forty participants and 20 lecturers from Macedonia, Europe, the USA, Canada and China will be part of this year’s School for Young Leaders that will be held for the fifth time in Ohrid from 19 to 28 August at Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov’s initiative.

“Via the School for Young Leaders we invest in the knowledge of every young participant in the school yet our ultimate goal is developing team and leadership spirit. A team wins because of the concentration of knowledge, energy and motivation in it and because it is comprised of members of different backgrounds and talents. We want to invest in leaders separately yet it is just as important that we work on their team spirit,” says project coordinator Gordica Karanfilovska.

The lecturers in this year’s School for Young Leaders include former Serbian President Boris Tadic, Canadian Senator Don Meredith, the Vice President of the Chinese telecom giant ZTE Corporation, Xiao Ming, the founder of P World, Kosta Petrov, Imperial Prince and Archduke of Austria Karl von Habsburg, the Director for Account Service at Russell Public of the USA, Jason Miko, the former private secretary of Princess Diana, Patrick Jephson, former US President Ronald Regan’s assistant Mary Jo Jacobi, the director of Multimode Group, Tafsir Mohammed Awal, and law professional  Muhamed Mesic from Bosnia and Herzegovina, known for the fact that he speaks over 70 languages.

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MIC – August 15, 2014 – 1:45pm

According to a high-ranking SDSM official, unless VMRO-DPMNE shows readiness by 15 September for dialogue on all the five conditions that the opposition has set, the MPs of SDSM are going to enter Parliament to call for an emergency meeting at which they will submit their resignations in person, Utrinski vesnik reports.

The high-ranking SDSM official also says that now it does not depend on SDSM whether the political dialogue for resolving the parliamentary crisis will continue. Talks between Macedonia’s largest political parties hit an impasse at their very beginning over SDSM’s demand for setting up a caretaker government which VMRO-DPMNE refuses to discuss.

Considering Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski is currently in Turkey for his summer holiday, there are no signs from VMRO-DPMNE about whether or when talks with SDSM could resume. The EU envoy Peter Vanhoutte, assigned to facilitate the communication between the two parties, is not in Macedonia either.

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MIC – August 12, 2014 – 12:13pm

Greece has never responded to any of the notes of protest that Macedonia have so far filed in protest against incidents happening either on the Greek-Macedonian border or on the territory of Greece in which Macedonian citizens were involved.

On the occasion of the latest incident with the video showing Greek soldiers in Cyprus calling insulting cadences about Macedonians, Albanians and Turks and how they would “suck their blood”, the Head of the Greek Liaison Office in Skopje, Theocharis Lalakos, was summoned to the Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday afternoon to be handed a note of protest. The Macedonian authorities, however, do not expect a Greek response, Dnevnik reports.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs demands of the Greek authorities to take immediate action to condemn these incidents which are not in the spirit of the European values and standards and to make sure such uncivilized acts do not happen again. Mr. Lalakos was also handed a note of protest concerning the practice of the Greek authorities to put stickers on the Macedonian cars in regard to the use of the MK code on the Macedonian license plates.

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MIC – August 11, 2014 – 12:46pm

The Macedonian Government issued an announcement Sunday condemning the latest videos posted on You Tube showing Greek infantry calling nationalistic cadences full of hatred against Greece’s neighbors, Vest reports.

In the latest video that has recently been posted on You Tube and the Facebook profile page of Dimitris Papadimoulis, a Member of the Greek Parliament from Syriza, during an exercise of unfamiliar date, soldiers of the Greek army can be seen marching and heard calling “We are going to suck the blood of Turks, Skopians and Albanians.”

“The Government of the Republic of Macedonia is most harshly condemning the violent and menacing vocabulary of the Greek soldiers, typical of certain bygone times. Such acts stoke up inter-state hatred. The Government is taking all diplomatic steps to condemn this and other similar events in the Hellenic Republic, which do not contribute to the promotion of good-neighborliness and the spirit of cooperation,” the Government stated Sunday.

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MIC – August 8, 2014 – 1:53pm

It is highly possible an enlargement commissioner not to be part of the new European Commission, due to the announcements that the EU enlargement will be postponed for five years (as the new president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker announced) or for 10 years, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently stated. This has been discussed in the past few months and Deutsche Welle reported on this on Thursday. If Juncker decides so, then the authorities in charge of the enlargement will be in the sphere of the high representative of foreign and security policy, Utrinski vesnik reports. The removal of the enlargement commissioner from the European Commission will be a great blow for the Western Balkan countries and their European perspectives. Two of them, Montenegro and Serbia, have already started the negotiations for membership but Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, wait for the European doors to be opened. The daily enlargement agenda would be transferred to the several directorates in the Commission but they do not have the power that a commissioner would have. The heads of the directorates have technical competences but no political influence. The final decision will be made on 30- August when Juncker is expected to share the new composition of the Commission. Deutsche Welle also conveyed the stance of the representative of the European Commission to Germany, Richard Kimmel, who said that the European Commission cannot be more specifically involved in addressing the issue of the name of Macedonia as it once did in the dispute between Croatia and Slovenia, or last year between Serbia and Kosovo. Kimmel stressed that the positions of the European Commission are clear – Macedonia is ready for start of accession negotiations.

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MIC – August 7, 2014 – 1:50pm

“We are aware that the next wave of enlargement will not be in two weeks, but somewhere around 2020 and Macedonia will use this period to solve the border problems, structural reforms and for use of the European funds for investing in the infrastructure,” Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki told daily Vest.

Commenting on the initiative of official Berlin to gather the leaders of the Western Balkan countries at the same table, under the auspices of Angela Merkel, Poposki said: “this confirms that Germany has not forgotten about the six Balkan countries that want to join the EU and we appreciate her interest to help us.”

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MIC – August 6, 2014 – 12:00pm

“This award is not just personal but an award for the Republic of Macedonia, since it acknowledges all the efforts made so far in the area of economy. All reforms have yielded results, which others follow and reward. Therefore, this award shows that Macedonia is a role model in the region", President Ivanov stated Tuesday after receiving the Freedom Award for 2014, presented by the Fund for American Studies (TFAS) at the Charles University in Prague.  

“President Ivanov headed political reforms that led to enhancemeny of the judiciary, promoted transparency and reduced corruption. These political and economic reforms have brought Macedonia closer to meeting EU criteria. with regards to regional cooperation, president Ivanov significantly enhanced the country's diplomatic ties, holding over 200 meetings with heads of state and over 150 meetings with prime ministers and foreign ministers", TFAS representative William Hybl, said.

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Flash News
MIC – August 6, 2014 – 8:23am

- Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski invited Prince Williams and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, to visit Macedonia. At the manifestation in Liege, Belgium, which marked 100 years since the beginning of World War I, the Macedonian PM and members of the British royal family discussed our country. At the sidelines of the event, Gruevski held talks with the outgoing President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, German President Joachim Gauck and Belgian Defense Minister Pieter Di Crem.

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MIC – August 5, 2014 – 8:05am

- The American Institute on Political and Economic Systems chose President Gjorge Ivanov for recipient of the Freedom Award. The award is being presented every year since 1995 to renowned leaders from Eastern and Central Europe and Ivanov will receive it at the Charles University in Prague.

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MIC – August 4, 2014 – 8:16am

- The presence of Macedonian soldiers in Afghanistan is of key importance for the United States, assesses Ray Mabus, Secretary of the US Navy, following the meeting with Defense Minister Zoran Jolevski in Skopje at which the importance of the good cooperation between Macedonia and the US was emphasized. Mabus met Sunday with PM Nikola Gruevski and President Gjorge Ivanov.

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MIC – August 1, 2014 – 1:53pm

Interview with Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov for Dnevnik

The keener interest of the international community, including mediator Nimetz and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in the name dispute should be used for putting more pressure on Greece, Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov told Dnevnik.

Through this interview he also sends a message to Bulgaria: if you want us to jointly celebrate Ilinden 1903, we should also celebrate Ilinden 1944 together. He openly speaks about his relations with BDI in the light of BDI's refusal to recognize his legitimacy as a head of state and reveals that Zaev turned down his invitations for meetings for the sake of resuming the political dialogue.

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MIC – July 31, 2014 – 1:07pm

Six persons who participated in the violent protests in Skopje on 4 July staged against the verdict reached in the Monster murder case were each sentenced to three years in prison. The prosecution dropped the charges for one of the defendants and the court released another for lack of evidence.

The convicted six will remain in detention until the verdict becomes effective. They will also have to pay 26,000 euros for the damage done to the court buildings.  

During the violent protests at Bit Pazar, 20 police officers were injured, four of whom sustained severe injuries, while the damage done to the stoned buildings of the Court of General Jurisdiction in Skopje stands at about 1.6 million denars.

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MIC – July 30, 2014 – 12:47pm

The talks conducted under UN auspices are about the name of the country. The UN does not negotiate the identity of peoples, said UN-assigned name dispute negotiator Matthew NImetz in Skopje on Tuesday.

"Peoples have their own identities and they are not negotiable. People create their identities through their achievements and culture. This country has its own identity," Mr. Nimetz said when asked whether the identity is an issue being discussed as German Chancellor Angela Merkel had earlier suggested.

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MIC – July 29, 2014 – 12:45pm

The name dispute can be resolved provided that both parties are constructive and stick to the framework within which talks are conducted – the Resolutions of the UN Security Council, the Interim Accord and the Judgment of the International Court of Justice in the Hague, said Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov at his meeting with UN-assigned name dispute mediator Matthew Nimetz in Skopje on Tuesday.

"As always, the Republic of Macedonia will continue to take an active part in the name issue talks constructively and in good faith for the purpose of seeking out a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue," President Ivanov said.

At his meeting with mediator Niemtz, which was also attended by negotiator Vasko Naumovski and Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki, President Ivanov stressed Macedonia's readiness for holding meetings at the highest level and for intensifying the dialogue.

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Flash News
MIC – July 25, 2014 – 8:24am

- The EU enlargement process, as one of the main priorities of the Italian presidency, in context to Italy’s support of the start of Macedonia’s EU negotiations, is expected to be in the focus of the talks with Italian Minister Federica Mogherini who will pay an official visit to Macedonia Friday.

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MIC – July 24, 2014 – 8:12am

- The Stabilisation and Association Council between Macedonia and the EU (SA Council) held its eleventh meeting on Wednesday, chaired by Senator Benedetto Della Vedova, Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Italy, on behalf of High representative Catherine Ashton. The Macedonian delegation was led by foreign minister Nikola Poposki and included Deputy PM for European Affairs Fatmir Besimi. The SA Council recalled that the Stabilization and Association Agreement remains at the core of the relationship between the EU and Macedonia until the country’s accession to the EU.

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MIC – July 23, 2014 – 8:25am

- Macedonia has officially become a full-fledged participant in the European Union “Creative Europe” programme. Andrej Lepavcov, Head of Macedonia’s Mission ot the EU in Brussels and Jan Truszczynski, Director general of the European Commission for Education and Culture, signed Tuesday an agreement on the country’s accession to the programme.

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MIC – July 22, 2014 – 8:17am

- Office of the Hungarian National Trading House in Skopje opened Monday and Hungary’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto said that Macedonia has recently yielded an exceptionally solid economic result and at the same time it offers a chance to improve the current cooperation, especially between small and medium-sized enterprises as a driving force to boost trade ties. The objective of this Trading House is to create more effective and better partnership between the companies. Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki said that the opening of the National Trading House was an additional confirmation of the excellent relations between both countries.

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MIC – July 21, 2014 – 1:35pm

The European Commission is going to carefully analyze the constitutional modifications the Government has recently proposed to make sure they are in adherence with the European standards, said Peter Stano, spokesman for EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule. In a statement for the 24 Vesti television channel he said that while Brussels had had remarks about the reforms in a number of areas, it had never called for constitutional modifications.

The European Commission wants the constitutional modifications to be passed with a broad consensus as against the decision of the governing majority to initiate modifications to the highest legal act in the country at a time when the opposition is boycotting Parliament and will therefore not take part in the public debate.

According to Stano, Brussels is going to check whether the whole package of constitutional amendments is aligned with the European norms. However, according to experts, the EU is going to pay special attention to the definition of marriage as a community between a man and a woman and the formation of financial zones.

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MIC – July 17, 2014 – 1:28pm

With 82 votes in favor of the present 89 Members of Parliament, the proposal for modifying the Macedonian Constitution passed Parliament Wednesday. The required two-thirds majority was secured with the 61 votes from VMRO-DPMNE and the 19 from BDI plus Cedomir Sazdovski from GROM and Mirsada Asani, a former member of RDK. Roza Topuzova-Karevska from LDP abstained from voting, while the six MPs of PDSH voted against.

Despite rumors that he may not appear at the plenary session Wednesday due to some internal disagreements, Hazbi Lika from BDI did attend the session voting in favor of the proposal.

The vote Wednesday was preceded by a heated debate between the MPs of BDI and PDSH who accused each other of neglecting ethnic Albanian interests. Rafiz Aliti from BDI said they had not renounced the idea of new constitutional modifications that would pertain to the way the head of state is elected, the manner in which the Constitutional Court passes decisions, and other demands to promote ethnic Albanian rights.

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MIC – July 17, 2014 – 8:28am

- Macedonia has thus far donated about EUR 600,000 in finds and goods to Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina which were hot by disastrous floods last month. Macedonia’s government, civil sector and citizens immediately responded to the appeal for aid for Serbia and Bosnia/Herzegovina, Macedonian Ambassador to the EU Andrej Lepacov said Wednesday in Brussels at the “Rebuilding Together” donors’ conference for mobilizing further support to the Balkan states.

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MIC – July 16, 2014 – 8:23am

- The unresolved dispute involving the name and identity between Macedonia and Greece is a burden for us, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday in Dubrovnik at the Brdo-Brijuni Process meeting, which brings together heads of state or government from southeastern European countries. Merkel noted that Germany is ready for constructive cooperation to solve the issues and emphasized that nothing can be done without a compromise.

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MIC – July 15, 2014 – 1:17pm

The USA is going to continue to support strongly the UN process for resolution of the name dispute so Macedonia may take its deserved place in NATO and the EU, said US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland after meeting Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in Skopje on Monday. She also said the enlargement remained one of NATO's priorities, which was particularly true for Macedonia.

"The US strongly supports Macedonia and I was very pleased to hear today about the reforms the Government is carrying out and planning. Your prime minister confirmed that your engagement in Afghanistan will continue together with our own which is a forceful signal that Macedonia is an exporter of security," she said.

In regard to the political situation in Macedonia, she said the US supported the vision of an integrated Macedonia in which the Macedonian and Albanian communities live together in peace and prosperity.

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MIC – July 14, 2014 – 1:07pm

The US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the US Department of State, Victoria Nuland, is paying a visit to Macedonia's capital Monday.

She is set to hold meetings with President Gjorge Ivanov, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki, and a few party leaders, at which some of the main topics to be discussed will be the situation in Macedonia, the country's European and Euro-Atlantic integration and the name dispute with Greece.

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MIC – July 11, 2014 – 12:18pm

President Gjorge Ivanov condemned in Ohrid Thursday the violent protests that have been staged since the verdict in the Monster murder case was pronounced and appealed that all open issues be resolved institutionally.

"Protests are allowed everywhere yet violence cannot be tolerated. Our state has functional institutions capable of handling challenges. The relevant institutions take all that's necessary to prevent any form of violence," he said.

Appeals for peaceful protests and easing of tension came from all political and religious leaders in the country, especially after protests have been announced for Friday afternoon, set to begin following the prayer service in Skopje's mosques.

Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski appealed for peaceful protests again on Thursday and said institutions would not tolerate violence.

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MIC – July 11, 2014 – 8:16am

- Macedonia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Thursday the ambassadors of Albania and Kosovo to the Ministry of Foreign affairs and presented them with notes of protest regarding some of the official standpoints and statements of the two countries related to the violent protests in Macedonia.

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MIC – July 10, 2014 – 8:11am

- Macedonia deserves a membership in NATO and the United States is disappointed that the Alliance has still not opened its doors, said US Senator John McCain at the meeting with Defense Minister Zoran Jolevski. McCain’s stance is also shared by Congressman Mike Conaway who assured Jolevski that he will do everything in his power to contribute to Macedonia’s faster accession to NATO.  

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