North Macedonia in the World

Statement by Ambassador Kire Ilioski - Permanent Representative of the Republic of Macedonia to the OSCE, UN and other International Organizations in Viennа
PC 1108 - July 14, 2016


On behalf of my delegation, I would like to warmly welcome Ambassador Nina Suomalainen, Head of the OSCE Mission to Skopje, at the Permanent Council and thank her for a comprehensive and thought provoking report.

The OSCE Mission indeed co-operates dynamically with the government and different institutions, as well as with the NGO sector in the Republic of Macedonia.

We are pleased and appreciative of the assistance and expertise provided by the Mission to the country on issues related to its mandate, such as human rights, rule of law, police etc., and the Report highlights a number of good practices, valuable projects and joint undertakings on important matters including in the field of anti-discrimination and judiciary.

We appreciate the Mission’s role regarding the implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, as integral part of the country’s constitutional and legal order. Over the past 15 years of its enforcement, the Macedonian society and state institutions have proven their capacity to handle challenges of different nature.

Let me stress in this regard the importance we attach to the implementation of the Strategy on Integrated Education, containing a wide-range of measures and recommendations, and the improvements in this field. Namely, all primary and secondary schools have formed teams for integration in education, which are required to anticipate the activities for multi-cultural integration in schools. The Ministry of Education and Science formed a working group to monitor activities forjj integration through a Plan for measuring of achievements.

Mr. Chairman,

Concerning electoral reforms, there has been traditionally long standing cooperation with OSCE/ODIHR and the Mission. As stated, progress has been achieved, albeit some issues need further work, such as increasing the efficiency of the State Election Commission and overall continuation of the electoral reform process taking into account ODIHR recommendations.

In this context and with a view to completing the implementation of the remaining obligation under the cross-party agreement of June/July 2015 – i.e. the holding of early parliamentary elections, discussions are underway among the main stakeholders on the practicalities leading to the elections, whereas OSCE will again have an important role in monitoring of its preparations and conduct.

As stated earlier, responsible implementation of the cross-party agreement in its entirety remains the only sustainable way out of the prolonged political impasse. Clear political will and decisive action is required by all actors to overcome the crisis and remedy the negative impact and consequences it has had on the country and its peoples.

In this regard and taking into account the recommendations of our partners, the Government as well the Parliament adopted and implemented through the past period a number of concrete measures. For example, and as also foreseen by the political agreement, the Special Prosecutor’s Office has received all legal, institutional and financial support necessary for its autonomous and unhindered functioning. The SPO assumed jurisdiction over two ongoing trial cases. It currently undertakes seven investigation procedures encompassing 60 individuals and a number of pre-investigation proceedings.

Reinforced efforts on the implementation of the Action Plan on the key reform priorities, mainly in the fields of rule of law and judiciary, media and public administration are being undertaken and some are already in the governmental procedure. For instance, as regards the media, let me inform you that just few days ago, I forwarded to the Office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media for an opinion a copy of the newly proposed “Draft Law on public institutions’ informative and advertising campaigns of the Republic of Macedonia” prepared by the government. This is just one example of the close cooperation we maintain with the OSCE institutions, in this particular case with the Representative on Freedom of the Media, in order to address certain outstanding issues in accordance with international standards.

Mr. Chairman,

There is another important issue that was mentioned today - the present migrant and refugee crisis and the numerous and challenging implications it carries for the Participating States. We, as many among us at the table today, have experienced enormous flow of refugees. To successfully address the humanitarian and other relevant aspects of the crisis, we undertook legislative and regulatory measures at national level and many cooperation initiatives with our neighbours and international partners, OSCE included. The effective Macedonian response to the migratory challenges speaks best of the functionality of the state institutions and their resilience to the negative influences of the complicated political environment.

Mr. Chairman,

Let me underline that Macedonia’s focus indeed must remain on the reforms and advancing on the road to EU accession and attaining NATO membership.

As stated before this PC earlier, necessary reforms which often are painful for the candidate countries would best be implemented if we have a credible process that clearly defines the EU membership outlook.

The close cooperation we have with the OSCE in general and with the Mission in Macedonia is viewed by the government as complementary to and hence tailored in accordance with its strategic goals of becoming part of NATO and the EU.

We are thankful for the efforts and activities of the Head of Mission and her team and look forward to continuing our good cooperation.

I thank you.