The way you treat MPs from the party that voted for constitutional changes is unacceptable. It’s good that you don’t block the Assembly, but it’s not good that you are walking the road to isolation. You need to show that you really are for the EU and NATO.
These are the main messages that the leaders of the European People’s Party (EPP) conveyed to the leadership of VMRO-DPMNE, led by President Hristijan Mickoski, who took part in the three-day congress in Helsinki. In fact, during these three days in the capital of Helsinki we witnessed an unusual situation in which the main opposition party in the country was represented by two factions. Apart from the official party’s four, MP Emilija Aleksandrova, the dismissed deputy general secretary Petar Bogojeski, and the excluded Nikola Todorov, met with the EPP leaders. Other dismissed MPs and officials received an invitation, but for various reasons they decided not to attend the summit in Helsinki.
The images that have come from there seemed surreal, in which, for example, one could see Commissioner Johannes Hahn and the likely candidate for European Commission President Manfred Weber meet regularly with Macedonian politicians who later shared photographs as evidence. Aleksandrova said that on these meetings they discussed the importance and perspective of Macedonia towards the EU. In that direction, she was told that she would have the support of the MPs who advocated Macedonia’s integration into the EU and NATO. Former Minister of Health Nikola Todorov is more specific, and he points out that the necessity for democratization of the party was also pointed out through the amendment of the Statute in order for VMRO-DPMNE to continue to act as a European, modern center-right party.
“EU Commissioner Hahn stressed that threats and pressures must be stopped and he expressed his clear support for the decisive and courageous steps that are in the direction of Macedonia’s integration into the European Union,” Todorov told Nezavisen Vesnik/Independent newspaper.
“Great meeting Macedonian colleagues Petar Bogojeski, Emilija Aleksandrova, Nikola Todorov at the EPP Summit. I applaud their courage and bravery in voting for the Prespa Agreement. All threats against them must stop! All parties should work for the EU agenda which the vast majority of citizens want,” wrote EU Commissioner Hahn on Twitter after the meeting.
VMRO-DPMNE’s “dissidents” came to Helsinki after receiving a personal invitation from the EPP president, Joseph Daul, who wanted to hear first-hand what exactly was happening in their sister party in Macedonia. He heard that the leadership is persecuting everyone who thinks differently, and they especially consider the not boycotting the referendum as a major mistake and what is “even worse”, the vote on the constitutional amendments in Parliament. The threats and sanctions they received subsequently did not appeal to Doris Pack, president of the EPP Women’s Association, who on her profile tweeted that the family of the European people’s parties must not tolerate the behavior of the leadership of VMRO-DPMNE toward the eight MPs who voted for constitutional changes, contrary to the party’s position.
“It is unacceptable that the eight MPs from VMRO, who voted for the agreement with Greece and for the European future of the country, now receive threats and are treated as criminals,” Pack wrote after the meeting with Mickoski.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn pointed out that he was crystal clear that the ratification of the Prespa agreement must be finalized quickly and without any obstacle.
“I welcome his commitment not to obstruct procedure in Parliament. The EU integration needs a loyal opposition!” Hahn concluded.
The White Palace said that on the sidelines of the congress, their leader met with Horst Seehofer (vice-chancellor of Germany and president of the CSU), Antonio Tajani (president of the European Parliament), the prime ministers of Croatia and Hungary (Andrej Plenkovic and Victor Orban) Javier Hurtado Mira (president of the Democratic Youth of Europe) etc. At the meetings, it was pointed out that Macedonia’s EU membership is a strategic interest for VMRO-DPMNE, and the interlocutors informed them of the political persecution and abuse of the judiciary against VMRO-DPMNE.
Zaev: MPs must show courage
“MPs have full legitimacy and credibility and entitlement transferred from the citizens. Especially when it comes to decisions that define the future of Macedonia, we all must show courage to act beyond our party lines and to reach responsible decisions for the future of Macedonia. This was stated by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev in a response to a journalist question when asked to comment on the messages sent at the congress of the European People’s Party (EPP) in Helsinki involving the MPs of the opposition party VMRO-DPMNE and the pressure they are under over their decisions.
After a visit to temporary homeless shelters in the vicinity of Skopje, Zaev said he was merely repeating the position he had been referring to in Parliament frequently adding he wouldn’t comment on the internal affairs of VMRO-DPMNE and EPP as sister parties.“I urge that the focus should remain on the process, because we are all in favor of joining the European Union and NATO. The time has come to make concrete decisions with utmost responsibility, for the EU and NATO and for the future of our Macedonia,” the president of the Macedonian Government pointed out.