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PACE President calls for greater co-operation between Skopje and the Council of Europe

Strasbourg, 12.06.2013 – At the end of his visit to “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, PACE President Jean-Claude Mignon called for co-operation between that country and the Council of Europe to be stepped up, in order to complete the honouring of the commitments entered into on accession, and thus to speed progress along the path to European integration.

“I am delighted to be able to make this visit with the rapporteur of the Monitoring Committee, Mr Walter, so as to begin a political dialogue with the authorities and with all political forces on the report on post-monitoring dialogue with ‘FYROM’. It is our aim to ensure that this report represents a genuinely shared view of the priorities of our co-operation, and to provide the country with the necessary assistance wherever it is most needed. The Council of Europe has a large number of co-operation tools and mechanisms that your country can benefit from using,” said the President.

“We acknowledge the progress made by your country since it joined the Council of Europe, particularly in respect of reform of the justice system, the fight against corruption and the protection of minorities. However, more efforts are needed in order to strengthen the independence of the courts and restore public trust in the impartiality of the justice system, and also to increase media pluralism. Work must also continue to implement the Ohrid Framework Agreement so as to ensure that all communities, including the smallest, play a full part in public life.

Where the functioning of democratic institutions is concerned, I appeal to both majority and opposition to start a normal and constructive dialogue inside parliament, with all parties showing each other mutual respect, so that parliament may perform its political and institutional role to the full. It is vital to cast light on all that has happened in the past, and I welcome the fact that an agreement has been reached on the candidature for the chair of the commission of enquiry for which the agreement of 1 March provides. It is now time to create all the preconditions for that commission of enquiry to be able to work normally, so as to find effective means of preventing any repetition of the events of 24 December 2012. The proper operation of parliamentary democracy is a responsibility shared by majority and opposition alike.

I applaud the broad consensus among all parties and all ethnic communities on the subject of European integration. The Council of Europe’s expertise can help you on this path. Our co-operation could take the form of an action plan spanning a number of years, enabling co-operation priorities to be better targeted and the use of resources to be optimised. I hope that we shall, together with the European Union, continue this discussion in order to start new joint co-operation programmes to support the country as it moves towards European integration.”

Mr Mignon met the President of the Republic, President of the National Assembly, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister responsible for European Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister responsible for implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement. He also met the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, the leaders of the main opposition party and representatives of the international community.