EU’s Hahn doesn’t see need for early vote in Macedonia

EU’s Hahn doesn’t see need for early vote in Macedonia

EU’s Hahn doesn’t see need for early vote in Macedonia Izvor: REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement said on Friday he did not see any need for Macedonian early general elections and that, instead, the two-thirds majority should be secured in the parliament to endorse a deal with Greece on the country's new name, the FoNet news agency reported.

In a statement to Austrian Kurier newspaper, Johannes Hahn added that that message had already been sent to the Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

Hahn joined other foreign leaders who tried to persuade the Macedonian opposition to accept the agreement Zaev and his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras reached in June to change Macedonia's name into North Macedonia. The agreement ended the 27-year-long dispute that prevented Skopje from the Euro-Atlantic integrations.

 “New elections will only be drifting from the road to negotiations on joining the European Union,” Hahn said.

Referring to the last Sunday’s referendum that failed to attract enough voters, he said it could not be described as unsuccessful.

“That decision is in the country’s interest not in the interest of parties and politicians. So, how to secure the votes? I believe in the combination of the Balkan and rational approach,” Hahn told the Kurier.

“It is unusual that 94 percent of those who voted said yes, (to the name deal between Skopje and Athens) with the turnout of only 36.8. It’s obvious that the opposition successfully organised the boycott,” Hahn said.

He believes that the two-thirds majority in the parliament can be secured, adding that “only eight or nine opposition votes are needed. And if even they (the opposition) say they want the country to join NATO and the EU, then they have to pay the price for that decision.”

“That decision is in the country’s interest not in the interest of parties and politicians. So, how to secure the votes? I believe in the combination of the Balkan and rational approach,” Hahn told the Kurier.

Zaev's coalition has the support of 71 deputies, while 80 votes are needed for the two-thirds majority. The strongest opposition party, the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE, which called on the boycott of the referendum, declared the deal with Greece on a new name was dead. The party demanded an interim government which Zaev rejected.

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