Flash News
MIC – February 12, 2014 – 9:22am

- Next Thursday, Foreign Minister of Greece Evangelos Venizelos is to arrive in Skopje. His host, Minister Nikola Poposki, announces a discussion in which he will urge Greece to no longer hamper Macedonia in its Euro-integration. Minister Poposki had a tete-a-tete meeting Tuesday with Bulgarian counterpart Kristian Vigenin and the two diplomats came to an agreement Macedonia and Bulgaria to join forces in urging the European Commission to provide financial assistance for Corridor 8.

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Flash News
MIC – February 11, 2014 – 9:35am

- A group of 40 US congressmen sent a letter to the Secretary of State John Kerry asking for the NATO enlargement to be the priority of US and the Alliance and Kerry to support granting membership to Macedonia and Montenegro at the next NATO Summit in Great Britain in September. The lawmakers believe that joining NATO will strengthen the democratic institutions and the stability in the region.

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Flash News
MIC – February 10, 2014 – 10:57am

- The fact that the Macedonian Orthodox Church is outside of the family of canonic churches weakens its position, stated Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch HH Kiril at Sunday’s meeting in Moscow with Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov. According to him, it is very important to find a solution and therefore he is prepared to invest efforts in settlement of the Macedonian Orthodox Church-Ohrid Archbishopric canonic status. During his visit in Moscow, Ivanov will deliver a lecture at the Lomonosov Moscow State University, where he will be presented with the title Honorary Professor.

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Flash News
MIC – February 7, 2014 – 9:20am

- The European Parliament on Thursday with 486 votes “in favor” adopted the Resolution on Macedonia in which the European parliament once again urges the European Council to determine a date for start of Macedonia’s accession talks without further delay. MEP Richard Howitt, who drafted the resolution, urged Greece to use its EU Presidency and give the integration process a fresh stimulus. Howitt is proud that a consensus for the Electoral Code has been reached, that dialogue between journalists and the government has been established and   that the budget has been adopted in normal proceedings. Howitt also urged the European Union to award Macedonia with a functioning market economy status.

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Flash News
MIC – February 6, 2014 – 10:02am

- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) signed Wednesday a memorandum of cooperation with the French embassy in Macedonia which will enhance the cooperation in the field of diplomatic education and participation of MFA candidates in training courses of the renowned French National School of Administration.

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BRUSSELS RESUMING DIALOGUE WITH MACEDONIA
MIC – February 5, 2014 – 1:59pm

Brussels is going to resume its dialogue with the Republic of Macedonia. To this effect, Christian Danielsson, Director General for Enlargement at the EC, for the first time since he took this office replacing Stefano Sannino, is going to pay a visit to Macedonia Thursday. He is set to meet Macedonia’s top officials and deliver a lecture at the University of Ss Cyril and Methodius in Skopje.

His visit to Macedonia was agreed upon during the last visit of Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki and Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Fatmir Besimi to Brussels when an overview was made of the reforms that the Macedonian Government undertook to carry out and of its response to the remarks and criticisms from Brussels, especially following the March agreement.

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Flash News
MIC – February 4, 2014 – 9:31am

- The State Election Commission set the agenda for the presidential elections. The Diaspora will vote for the first time at these presidential elections. According to SEC President Nikola Rilkoski, the parties must abide by the new Electoral Code because it envisages many sanctions. Rilkoski added that SEC is prepared for the elections and the parties must hand over their candidacies by 13 March at the latest. The pre-election campaign will last twenty days and it will start on 24 March.

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Flash News
MIC – February 3, 2014 – 9:26am

- Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanoski signed Saturday the decision for declaring presidential election, scheduled to take place on 13 April, one week ahead of the Easter holidays. Veljanoski voiced hope that this election cycle will be carried out according to the amended Electoral Code and he expects the elections to be held in a peaceful and democratic atmosphere. 

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PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS TO BE CALLED ON SATURDAY?
MIC – January 31, 2014 – 3:37pm

The fifth presidential elections will most probably be called over the weekend, in all likelihood on Saturday (1 February) but no later than Sunday, and will be held on 13 and 27 April.

While waiting for Speaker Trajko Veljanoski to call the presidential elections, it is increasingly more speculated that early parliamentary elections will be held at the same time. Governing VMRO-DPMNE and BDI, on which the decision for dissolution of Parliament depends, have neither confirmed nor denied the speculations that they have reached agreement.

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Flash News
MIC – January 28, 2014 – 9:29am

- US senators John McCain and Christopher Murphy gave strong support to Macedonia’s NATO membership. According to McCain and Murphy, the series of NATO summits at which there was no enlargement seriously damaged the reputation of the Alliance.

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Flash News
MIC – January 27, 2014 – 9:21am

- Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic arrived Sunday in Macedonia and had a meeting with Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. Dacic comes to Macedonia in a time when Serbia is preparing early elections and the Serbian public expects a stance of him in relation to the new elections. Dacic and Gruevski on Sunday attended the ceremonial academy on the occasion of the holiday “St. Sava” and their speeches delivered confirmed the good relations between the two countries and the possibilities open issues to be closed through dialogue.  

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MODIFIED ELECTION LEGISLATION PASSES PARLIAMENT THURSDAY
MIC – January 24, 2014 – 1:13pm

With 69 votes in favor, six against and no abstentions, the modifications to the election law passed Parliament Thursday. The modifications had previously been agreed upon by all political parties from both the government and the opposition. Only PDSH did not participate in the negotiations and they voted against the proposed modifications. They also accused BDI of having accepted anti-Albanian modifications.

Under the modified election legislation, political parties will not be allowed to accept donations exceeding 50,000 euros, to begin construction of facilities and to put to use already put up facilities during election campaigns. Only the issue concerning the diaspora vote has remained unresolved. Parties have agreed to revisit it before the holding of the parliamentary elections.

In the presidential election set to be held in April, for the first time voters will be marked with visible ink that cannot be washed off for 24 hours, and new members will be assigned to the electoral boards at the Macedonian diplomatic missions and consular posts.

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POPOSKI: EU SHOULD NOT EMPLOY DOUBLE STANDARDS
MIC – January 23, 2014 – 1:56pm

If you promote principles in Macedonia, then you should promote the same principles in all member states and candidate member states of the EU. We are going to be the first to support you because we believe in a successful European project, Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki told Richard Howitt, the Rapporteur on Macedonia at the European Parliament, at their meeting in Brussels Wednesday, at which the main subject was the EP’s draft resolution on Macedonia’s progress in 2013.

According to the press release from the Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister Poposki thanked Howitt for the European Parliament’s continued support for Macedonia’s EU integration. He also added that every Member of the European Parliament has the responsibility to promote European principles and that the breach of the European principles taints the credibility of the EU in the eyes of the Macedonian citizens.

“It is therefore important that the assessments and values voiced by the Members of the European parliament are on the same line with those that the EU promotes on its territory. An attitude toward a certain candidate member state different from the attitude toward the member states may harm the credibility of enlargement. The effect of the forthcoming European elections on the activities of a few sitting MEPs is evident. We share their concern over the status and ambitions of the most radical movements in Europe, all of which should be an additional motive for us to act reasonably as a European-oriented stakeholder,” Minister Poposki said.

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Flash News
MIC – January 23, 2014 – 9:18am

- Deputy PM for European Affairs Fatmir Besimi and Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki on Wednesday met with European Commissioner Stefan Fule and Director General for Enlargement Christian Danielsson. Ahead of the meeting with Fule and Danielsson, Poposki met Wednesday with rapporteur Richard Howitt and discussed about the main issues that could be a subject of the accession dialogue.

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EP Foreign Affairs Committee Passes Resolution on Macedonia
MIC – January 21, 2014 – 2:15pm

With 48 votes in favor, four against and six abstentions, the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament adopted Tuesday the resolution on the Republic of Macedonia drafted based on the European Commission’s latest progress report.
 
According to MIA’s Brussels-based correspondent, only two changes occurred Tuesday to the latest compromise amendments that Rapporteur Richard Howitt submitted—the “bilingualism” that Howitt called for has been replaced with “bilingual education on a voluntary basis” and an explanation has been inserted clarifying that the mentioned ultra-nationalism pertains to all countries involved in the enlargement process and not exclusively to Macedonia.

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62.4 PERCENT OF MACEDONIAN CITIZENS OPPOSE ANY NAME CHANGE
MIC – January 17, 2014 – 3:16pm

The number of Macedonian citizens who believe that the name of the country should not change in any way is rising. At the Thursday debate organized by the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation and the Societas Civilis Institute of Democracy at which the results of their public opinion poll related to the name issue with Greece were presented, Macedonian politicians and analysts pinpointed the rigid Greek position as the reason for this, Nova Makedonija reports.

According to the opinion poll conducted between 15 November and 1 December 2013, the number of citizens that refuse making any change to the country’s name climbed up by 17 percentage points from 2011, to 62.4 percent, while 10.3 percent of the interviewees said they would accept a negotiated name other than the constitutional to be used in international organizations, which is a decline of nearly nine percentage points from 2011. 70.3 percent of the interviewees said they did not accept any geographic qualifier, while 73.6 percent said they refused any modifications to the ‘Macedonian language.’

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RIBBON-CUTTING CEREMONIES BANNED DURING ELECTION CAMPAIGNS
MIC – January 16, 2014 – 2:28pm

Construction of facilities, putting into operation facilities built with budget money and an imprisonment sentence of six to 12 months for those who break this rule are only some of the provisions that the government and the opposition agreed upon and that will be incorporated in the new election legislation which is going to pass Parliament with consensus, Nova Makedonija reports.

All political parties have welcomed the agreement and believe the modifications are going to improve democracy and political dialogue in the country. SDSM hope that no interventions will have to be made through amendments. According to Cvetanka Ivanova from SDSM, the presidential poll will be the crucial evidence whether the government is committed to fair and democratic elections in reality rather than just on paper.

“As a political party, we welcome the decision that the modifications to the election legislation should include the recommendations from the OSCE/ODIHR. A key test to the practical realization of the agreement will be the presidential elections this year where the government is going to demonstrate whether it truly wants to organize free, fair and democratic elections,” Ivanova said.

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Flash News
MIC – January 15, 2014 – 9:39am

- Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski announced that the Government made a decision to solve the status of 3,000 redundant workers from state firms and 4,000 professional soldiers. According to PM Gruevski, the ministries of defense, justice and interior in ten days must draft the analysis on employment of professional soldiers in state institutions and the redundant workers from state firms who will receive at least 7,100 denars per month. Necessary 4 million euro will be covered by the state budget.

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IF IVANOV IS NOMINATED FOR PRESIDENT, BDI THREATENS TO TOPPLE GOVERNMENT
MIC – January 14, 2014 – 3:28pm

VMRO-DPMNE is going to bring into question the governing coalition if it insists that President Gjorge Ivanov should be reelected for another term. BDI made it clear that they would not support Ivanov because in his present term he failed to show he was the president of all citizens. As a way of avoiding divisions and a crisis in the governing coalition, Ahmeti offered his coalition partner that they should nominate a consensual candidate, Vest reports.

MP Ermira Mehmeti from BDI says that BDI wants the governing coalition to remain stable yet if VMRO-DPMNE nominates Ivanov for another presidential term despite knowing what BDI think of his nomination, the stability of the coalition will inevitably be upset.

“This is going to be a test to the governing coalition. We believe that in our cooperation with VMRO-DPMNE so far we have built mutual trust to be able to overcome these differences. Moreover, the policy of obstinacy leads nowhere,” she said.

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PPD’S COMEBACK PROMPTS DIVERSE REACTIONS
MIC – January 13, 2014 – 1:37pm

The news that Muhamet Halili intends to renew the first political party of Albanians in Macedonia—the Party for Democratic Prosperity (PPD) that disappeared from the Macedonian political arena two years ago—has prompted diverse reactions from relevant political parties as well as from political analysts. Halili, former vice president of the party, an MP and an ambassador, said efforts were made to hold the inaugural meeting of the party by the end of January, Dnevnik reports.

“Together with some Albanian intellectuals we are making much effort to recreate this party. Our goal is to reinstate the right policy for Albanians in Macedonia. We are ready for new elections,” Halili said.

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DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER BESIMI PRESENTS EU AGENDA 2014
MIC – January 3, 2014 – 3:16pm

Fatmir Besimi, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs, had a USAID-paid breakfast with journalist on Thursday at which he presented Macedonia’s EU agenda 2014. With reforms at home and with openness for dialogue with neighbors Macedonia is going to act during the six-month Greek Presidency of the EU that started on Wednesday.

Asked what Macedonia would do during the Greek Presidency, Minister Besimi said that first he was going to write a letter to Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos to wish him a happy new year and successful presidency. He said that it was during the previous Greek Presidency that the Thessaloniki Agenda for the Western Balkans was passed and added that Macedonia would retain its constructive approach and positive spirit in resolving problems with Greece and Bulgaria and would continue conducting reforms because, he said, they were Macedonia’s biggest argument.

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Flash News
MIC – January 2, 2014 – 9:43am

- Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in his New Year’s message to Macedonian citizens summed the work of the Government and once again boasted with projects which were realized and announced the new projects for 2014. According to Gruevski, there will be an increase of the salaries of administrative workers in 2014 and he boasted with the employments of the socially-endangered categories.

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PM GRUEVSKI SAYS NEITHER ‘YES’ NOR ‘NO’ TO EARLY PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS
MIC – December 30, 2013 – 2:45pm

In the course of his nearly two hours long New Year’s interview with the Macedonian Radio and Television (MRT), Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski did not resolve the dilemma whether early parliamentary elections would be held at the same time with the presidential poll next year.

“There is no situation that would make me want early parliamentary elections. At the moment we are not focused on that. However, if atmosphere is created in which our projects and policies are put at risk or if someone insists on them, we are ready for elections. I neither confirm nor reject that possibility,” Gruevski said in the interview most of which he used to praise the government policies.

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FM POPOSKI HOLDS ANNUAL MEETING WITH MACEDONIAN AMBASSADORS AND CONSULS
MIC – December 27, 2013 – 2:33pm

President Gjorge Ivanov’s initiative for effectuation of the Judgment of the International Court of Justice in The Hague via the UN Security Council mirrors the factual situation on the ground, said Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki. However, he refused to reveal any other details of Macedonia’s future steps in this regard.

“It is fact that all criteria have been met for this to happen. At the moment, we would not like to speculate whether and how this could happen,” he said.

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Flash News
MIC – December 27, 2013 – 11:05am

- The economic diplomacy will be the second most important sphere at which the Macedonian ambassadors should focus on in the upcoming year. At this year’s working meeting in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ambassadors will have the task to attract investors and they will develop “health diplomacy” too.  Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki reiterated that the EU and NATO integration and the relations with the neighbors will be the main priorities next year too and the reforms must resume until then.

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Flash News
MIC – December 24, 2013 – 9:57am

-    In his last annual parliamentary address in his present term of office that he delivered in the absence of the MPs from BDI, PDSH and RDK, who insist that the next head of state should be consensual, Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov said that conditions have been created for Macedonia to ask of the UN Security Council to effectuate the Judgment of the International Court of Justice in The Hague. President Ivanov said that Macedonia’s international position strengthened, that the number of partners and supporters in the EU and NATO and the number of countries that have recognized Macedonia increased. He also highlighted as positive the EU progress report on Macedonia and Macedonia’s participation in the South Stream gas pipeline project. The opposition denounced him for not providing answers to crucial questions, such as crime and corruption, partisan judiciary, pressure on media and divisions along all lines.

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Flash News
MIC – December 19, 2013 – 10:17am

-    The conclusion of the ministerial council of the European Union is a sophisticated version of the veto from NATO in Bucharest in 2008, said Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski following the December summit of the European Council in 2009 when the first EC recommendation for opening accession negotiations with Macedonia was discussed. The opinions whether the block from the EU and NATO are of the same format were divided at the time, but from the present point of view, it appears that there is no dilemma.

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EU FOREIGN MINISTERS TO REFUSE EC RECOMMENDATION FOR FIFTH TIME
MIC – December 17, 2013 – 2:31pm

The ministers of foreign affairs of the EU member states are going to adopt Tuesday at the meeting of the General Affairs Committee (GAC) the conclusion on the Republic of Macedonia to be passed at the Summit of the European Council on Thursday and Friday by the heads of state and government of the EU member states.

MIA’s Brussels-based correspondent reports that what is known for sure is that the foreign ministers are going to refuse the recommendation of the European Council for setting Macedonia a date for opening membership negotiations for the fifth time. In the latest draft conclusions, agreed at the level of ambassadors to the EU at the so-called COREPER group, it is recommended that “the European Council should revisit the recommendation for opening talks with Macedonia at its next summit in June 2014.”

The draft conclusion on Macedonia has four paragraphs, the last one of which says: “The Council strongly agrees with the assessment of the European Commission that the political criteria are still being met and takes note of the recommendation of the Commission for opening accession negotiations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. With the aim of passing a decision for opening negotiations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Council is going to revisit the issue in 2014 based on the updates from the Commission regarding the further implementation of the reforms in regard to the High Level Accession Dialogue (HLAD), including the implementation of the 1 March political deal, and the crucial steps in promoting good neighborly relations and reaching a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue.”

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Flash News
MIC – December 16, 2013 – 9:13am

- The Parliament is to launch Monday the debate on the 2014 draft-budget. According to announcements, next year the budget will total 2.8 billion euro and 20 percent more funds are envisaged for capital investments. During the amendment debate, only 2 amendments were accepted from a total of 684 amendments.

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Flash News
MIC – December 13, 2013 – 9:31am

- Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki on Friday in Sofia is to hold a meeting with Bulgarian counterpart Kristian Vigenin and they are to analyze the reports of the Macedonian and Bulgarian negotiation group on the agreement on good-neighborliness. Other details about the meeting have not been revealed and it is added that Poposki will also meet with members of the group of friendship between the two countries.

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