Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Ivo Vajgl, who also serves as EP’s rapporteur for Macedonia, will be joined by MEPs Edvard Kukan and Knut Fleckenstein for a trip to Macedonia by the end of February, where they will hold talks to set a new date for meetings as part of the Jean Monnet process.
In an interview with MIA, which will be published on Friday, Vajgl says that their offer, including the one of the EP, to the Macedonian Parliament to organize talks in a Jean Monnet format is still active and that the meeting scheduled to take place in January wasn’t realized because the MEPs never received a definite confirmation from the opposition party VMRO-DPMNE.
“Basically, we waited for their extraordinary congress and the decision regarding the party’s leadership, and of course, the decision of the new leadership whether it would approve VMRO-DPMNE to take part in the project. We haven’t received yet such a response. I’ve been informed that next week the new VMRO-DPMNE leader will travel to Brussels, where we will have talks with him. However, we have made a decision to come to Skopje in February, i.e. the three MEPs who have launched the initiative, Eduard Kukan, Knut Fleckenstein and myself. In Skopje we will definitely agree about a new date of the first meeting and the topics that would have to be approved for that very first meeting,” Vajgl tells MIA.
The general political situation in Macedonia after the constitution of the Parliament and the formation of the new government is in an upward trend, according to him.
“There’s no doubt about the immense importance of the government’s move to engage in a very productive and excellent dialogue with the neighbors and the fact it has laid new foundations of its relations with Bulgaria. Also, the dialogue being conducted with Greece could be called successful, even though at this point it is difficult to talk about an outcome,” says MEP Vajgl.
With regards to internal affairs, the Slovenian politician notes that the government, on its part, has been expressing conviction it is seriously committed to reforms defined in the (Reinhard) Priebe report and the Przino Agreement. However, he says, what is lacking at the moment is a constructive cooperation of all parties represented in Parliament. Vajgl’s message to the opposition, which has been out of Parliament and its activities, is that boycott is not an instrument that is acceptable for democratic states and relations.
“VMRO-DPMNE is still the strongest party in Macedonia and in Parliament, and it needs to take the responsibility alongside the government to work on pursuing reforms in the interest of the general progress of Macedonia and its European path. Understandably, the government also has the responsibility to make sure the opposition has the role every opposition has to play on any democratic scene, especially when it comes to a strong, firm opposition you cannot do without when one has to implement a serious reform or a serious agreement,’ states Vajgl.
It’s justifiable, he says, Macedonia – whose government has taken steps to settle the name issue with Greece all the while being focused on the reforms – to be given a decision on the start of accession talks in the course of this year.
“Of course, the decision has to be reached by the European Council, made up of heads of state and government in the EU. The fact itself suggests that Macedonia has to keep on insisting on cooperating with all member states, especially with countries that Macedonia has some open issues with. As regards the EP, we will definitely support the fact that Macedonia should be allowed to prosper. Personally, I would like to say that I couldn’t agree with the idea of making a ranking list of the candidate countries. Macedonia for over 10 years has been praised for being the best candidate country. Today, it cannot be degraded to a state of a second-rate candidate country. For this, we will send a clear message in the EP when the MEPs will debate the EU Enlargement Strategy when presented by the European Commission, MEP Ivo Vagjl tells MIA in an interview.