GOVERNMENT HOLDS OPEN SESSION ON EU INTEGRATION, EMPLOYMENT, INVESTMENTS, EDUCATION
MIC – December 22, 2014 – 2:03pm

The Government started its open session Sunday with issues relating to Macedonia's European integration. The Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs, Fatmir Besimi, said that all reforms and activities in regard to Macedonia's EU and NATO membership bid will be included in the Action Plan 2015 and that the Government continued carrying out reforms in the public administration, media freedom, interethnic relations, good-neighborly relations and regional cooperation.

Besimi said that this week would see the completion of the National Program 2015 based on which a public debate would be held in which representatives of the business community, private sector, academic community, and civil sector, including journalists, would be invited to take part voicing remarks and suggestions.

 

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IVANOV: DIALOGUE IS SIGN OF POLITICAL MATURITY
MIC – December 19, 2014 – 2:18pm

At the very beginning of his annual address to the Macedonian Parliament on Thursday, President Ivanov stressed that by leaving their seats vacant, the opposition MPs left the voters who had voted for them unrepresented. Voting in elections, he said, is a civil right guaranteed by the Constitution yet representing voters in Parliament is a constitutional responsibility of elected deputies.

The parliamentary session Thursday was also boycotted by the BDI MPs who refuse to recognize Ivanov's legitimacy.

"Vacant seats cannot reflect the citizens' will. I wish to underscore than seven months ago, I invited political leaders, including Mr. Zaev and Mr. Ahmeti, to a meeting at which we would discuss our national interests. They ignored my invitation, which is still open. Refusing an invitation to discuss national interests to me is a reflection of utterly irresponsible political conduct. Therefore, I wish to tell those who are absent today that political dialogue is not a sign of political weakness but a sign of political maturity," President Ivanov said.

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FIVE QUESTIONS PRESIDENT IVANOV IS EXPECTED TO ANSWER THURSDAY
MIC – December 18, 2014 – 2:59pm

President Gjorge Ivanov is going to address parliament Thursday for the first time in his second term of office. Today's picture of parliament will in fact reflect the changes that have occurred since the presidential and early general elections earlier this year.

During his previous term, Ivanov had a chance of addressing two different parliamentary lineups bearing in the mind early elections were held in 2008 and 2011. In both cases, the opposition attended his addresses.

This time round, however, it is said that almost two rows could be left completely empty taking into account the parliamentary boycott of the coalition led by SDSM and BDI's resolve not to recognize Ivanov's legitimacy.

 

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Flash News
MIC – December 18, 2014 – 10:28am

- Hungary assumes it has a moral obligation to support Macedonia in the Euro-Atlantic processes, and this stand will continue in the future, recommended the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban after the meeting with the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski on the Summit in Belgrade. According to Orban “Hungary considers that the arguments of Macedonia must be taken seriously in order Macedonia to join EU and NATO”.

 

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Flash News
MIC – December 17, 2014 – 10:36am

- The Summit in Belgrade can be beneficial, since after the first two Summits, Macedonia started the construction of two highways supported by the Peoples Republic of China, announced the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski after the first day of the meeting of “China plus 16” in Belgrade.

 

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Flash News
MIC – December 16, 2014 – 10:18am

- The prime ministers of Macedonia, China, Serbia and Hungary are going to hold a meeting Wednesday at which the construction of the fast Budapest-Belgrade railway will be tabled. This meeting will be held within the framework of the 2-day summit of the leaders of the 16 Central and Eastern European Countries with China that kicks off Tuesday (16 December).

 

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STATE EXAM BILL PASSES GOVERNMENT
MIC – December 15, 2014 – 2:53pm

The state exam bill has been given a go-ahead at the government session on Saturday. Education Minister Abdilaqim Ademi and his deputy Spiro Ristovski informed at a press conference Sunday that the Government passed a set of five reform bills pertaining to the primary, secondary and higher education, including the state exam bill the public debate about which would follow immediately.

According to Minister Ademi, the state exam is a mechanism of verifying academic knowledge and measuring the effect of what the state has invested in the future academic community.

"The Government strongly believes that the state exam will contribute to a better higher education quality. That is our reason for introducing it. All the other theories that with it the universities' autonomy will be violated, that the state wishes to control professors and harm students, etc, are just inventions fabricated by certain political structures," he said.

 

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Flash News
MIC – December 15, 2014 – 10:39am

- Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski leads the Government delegation which Sunday departed on a political and economic visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. During the visit of the capital city Riyadh, Gruevski will meet with the political establishment of the country, with the Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al – Saud, with the Managing Director of the Saudi Fund for Development Yousef Bin Ibrahim Al Bassam and with the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Abdul Latif Bin Rashid Al Zayani.

 

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Flash News
MIC – December 12, 2014 – 10:42am

- The political relations between Macedonia and Hungary are great and there is the continuous and principled support of Hungary for the Macedonian accession in the EU and NATO, concluded Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki and its counterpart Peter Szijjarto Thursday on a meeting in Budapest. Macedonia and Hungary this year mark two decades since the establishment of the diplomatic relations.

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THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS MARCH AGAINST STATE-SUPERVISED EXAM AT UNIVERSITIES
MIC – December 11, 2014 – 2:12pm

An estimated 10,000 students from all ethnicities rallied in cities across Macedonia on Wednesday to express their protest against the idea of introducing a state-supervised exam at universities.

"We have been silent long enough," "Stop bad reforms," "Your eyes do not deceive you, students have something to say," "Professors, speak your minds" "External testing for the government" read some of the signs written in Macedonian, Albanian and English that students at the main protest in Macedonia's capital, Skopje, carried while marching from the campus of the University of Ss Cyril and Methodius past the parliament building all to the way to the government building.

They were joined by professors, students from Tetovo, parents, hundreds of high school pupils, pensioners and redundant employees. The march went peacefully without any incidents and without any party symbols whatsoever.

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FM POPSOKI: WE LEARNED THAT NOT PRINCIPLES BUT POLICY OF FORCE IS MOST IMPORTANT IN EU
MIC – December 10, 2014 – 2:33pm

While being taught that rule of law and other principles are much valued in European circles, we have learned that the most important is the position of force that Macedonia has most strongly felt on its own skin, said Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki in his address at the conference Balkan Revival: Kick-Starting Stalled Policies organized by the non-governmental organization Friends of Europe and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Brussels on Tuesday.

The discussion at Friends of Europe’s 12th annual Balkans Summit addressed how and to what degree the EU and Western Balkan countries need to remain focused on enlargement perspectives, particularly in light of new European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s recent statement that there will be no further EU enlargement over the next 5 years.

Minister Poposki took part in the second session titled "Economic Development: Is the Glass Now Half Full?" in the course of which he pointed out that in carrying out economic reforms Macedonia scored better results than most EU member states. He also stressed that Macedonia was happy that the economy was getting into the focus of the EU since Macedonia had much to boast in this respect.

"As far as the economy is concerned, GDP per capita in the Western Balkans is half the average GDP per capita in the EU member state and there is much to do in this regard. However, the situation is getting better in fighting unemployment. Also, Macedonia's economic growth is higher than the economic growth of some EU countries," Poposki said.

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Flash News
MIC – December 9, 2014 – 9:59am

- The historian Amet Sherif, biochemist Velimir Stojkovski and academic Cvetan Grozdanov are this year winners of the national prize St. Kliment Ohridski that Monday was presented to them on a ceremony in the Assembly.

 

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EBRD connects Macedonian Railway Corridor to Turkey
MIC – December 5, 2014 – 1:37pm

The EBRD is making a loan of up to €145 million to finance the modernisation of railway infrastructure in Macedonia and to strengthen the country’s regional transport links.
 
The modernisation of transport infrastructure is one of the EBRD’s key priorities in the Western Balkans, helping to improve trade routes within the region, deepen market integration and develop stronger cross-border cooperation.

This sovereign loan to the Macedonian Public Enterprise for Railway Infrastructure   provides funding to upgrade the second phase of the eastern section of the Trans-European Corridor VIII.

It will allow completion of a key east‐west 34 km section of the rail corridor, which will ultimately link the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria to the Adriatic coast in Albania, as well as Turkey. The total cost of the project is €600 million.
 

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PM GRUEVSKI: ANNOUNCED STUDENT PROTEST MARCH IS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED
MIC – December 4, 2014 – 2:38pm

The organization of university students, Student Plenum, decided on Tuesday to stage another protest march next week and appealed to high school students, parents and professors to join them.

"We appeal to all people who selflessly support their fellow citizens—the past, present and future generations—regardless of whether they are concerned by this problem or not. There are parents who do not teach their children to be servile and expect someone else to fight for their future. There are primary and secondary school students with greater urge for putting up resistance than those who raised them," reads the Student Plenum's announcement.

Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski said Wednesday that the protest march that the Student Plenum intends to stage again was political motivated.

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POPOSKI AT EP: LET MACEDONIA OPEN MEMBERSHIP NEGOTIATIONS
MIC – December 3, 2014 – 2:56pm

In his address before the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, Nikola Poposki, Macedonia's Foreign Minister, appealed for acceptance of the six consecutive recommendations of the European Commission for opening EU membership negotiations with the Republic of Macedonia so credibility in the process of enlargement could be restored.

According to him, the three things that need to be paid special attention are the Thessaloniki Agenda of the EU and the major reassurance that the enlargement process has not been forgotten; the six consecutive EC recommendations for opening accession talks with Macedonia, which have not been accepted by the European Council; and the EU's resolve not to admit any new members in the next five years.

"At the moment Macedonia focuses on what the Union defines as High Level Accession Dialogue (HLAD), which suits us, considering HLAD centers of Chapters 23 and 24 as crucial. There is also a separate chapter on good-neighborly relations, which does not mean Macedonia's relations with its neighbors are bad. On the contrary, I find them to be excellent," Poposki said.

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Flash News
MIC – December 3, 2014 – 10:32am

- Republic of Macedonia will remain with reduced military presence in Afghanistan even after the ISAF mission but will yet be the biggest contributor per capita, announced Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki at the Foreign Ministers meeting of member-allies of the Alliance with the General Secretary of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg.

 

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AHMETI ANNOUNCES TAKING OF "UNEXPECTED POLITICAL DECISIONS"
MIC – December 2, 2014 – 2:10pm

No high-ranking BDI official is willing to explain what BDI leader Ali Ahmeti meant when he said at the BDI internal election conference Sunday that the party could take political decisions outside of its program. Ahmeti also said on that occasion that the country is faced with "problems demanding solutions and courage".

"I won't explain now what those challenges are. It suffices to say that all citizens know that Macedonia is faced with numerous problems demanding courage and solutions that could be unexpected," Ahmeti said.

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Flash News
MIC – December 1, 2014 – 2:39pm

- Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki participated this weekend on the 15th Francophonie Summit in Dakar, Republic of Senegal on a topic “Women and young people, vector of peace and growth”. Poposki supported the economic strategy of the Francophonie adopted in Dakar to pledge stronger economic and trade relations between the member-states.

 

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EDUCATION WORKSHOP FORCES SDSM AND VMRO-DPMNE TO GET OUT OF TRENCHES
MIC – December 1, 2014 – 2:36pm

To a great surprise of many, representatives of the major governing and opposition parties in Macedonia held a meeting at the Radika Hotel in Leunovo over the weekend. According to the scarce information media could obtain, the event at which they met was a workshop on the development of education in Macedonia over the next two decades organized by the British Embassy in Skopje, or, to be more exact, the think-tank organization Wilton Park from London.

The event was not heralded and took place behind closed doors, which sparked speculations that the education strategy was not the primary goal of holding this event. However, some of those who attended the workshop say the forum was not used as an occasion for holding secret talks between VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM in a bid to overcome the parliamentary crisis.

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CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS POSTPONED FOR 2015
MIC – November 28, 2014 – 3:12pm

The chances of finishing the procedure of adopting the constitutional amendments by the end of the year are getting ever slimmer. Even though the initial plan was to vote through the amendments by the middle of October, the procedure will most likely be completed in the early months of 2015.

The absence of SDSM from the Parliament is said to be one of the reasons for the delay bearing in mind the criticisms of the international community and their appeals that such an important undertaking should not be carried out without the opposition.

Parliament officials say that the third and final stage of the procedure of altering the Constitution will begin once the Government provides the constitutional amendments to Parliament. The Ministry of Justice, on the other hand, says the amendments will be provided to Parliament for approval once it is finally determined which remarks from the public debate and the Venice Commission should be incorporated in the final draft.

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DIALOGUE BETWEEN EUROPEAN AND MACEDONIAN PARLIAMENTS RESUMES
MIC – November 27, 2014 – 2:09pm

After an 18-month break, the dialogue between the European Parliament and Macedonia resumed in Strasbourg on Wednesday. Although Alojz Peterle, Co-Chairman of the EU-Macedonia Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), had earlier called on the opposition to take part in the meeting, the Macedonian delegation Wednesday consisted solely of representatives of VMRO-DPMNE and BDI.

The JPC held its last meeting in May 2013 shortly before Brussels decided to put on hold the High-Level Accession Dialogue, the meetings of the JPC and the Enlargement Commissioner's visits to Macedonia due to the failed political dialogue in the country. Whether this means that Brussels wishes to begin from scratch and renew its relations with Macedonia will become clearer at the EU summit in December.

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Flash News
MIC – November 26, 2014 – 10:34am

- Foreign Affairs Minister Nikola Poposki addressed the inauguration of the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Macedonia in Ohrid, and highlighted the importance of the several-decade friendship and partnership of Macedonia and Poland. The event was attended by the state undersecretary of the Poland Ministry of Foreign Affairs Artur Nowak-Far and the state undersecretary in the Poland Ministry of Infrastructure and Development Marcin Kubiak.

 

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Flash News
MIC – November 25, 2014 – 10:16am

- Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski Monday officially undertook the one-year presidency with the Central European Initiative (CEI) from the former chairman from Austria. Prime Minister announced that the main priorities of the Macedonian Presidency will be the membership of the countries from Western Balkan in EU and the construction of the road infrastructure.

 

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NEW ETHNIC ALBANIAN PARTY PROMOTED
MIC – November 24, 2014 – 2:48pm

A civil concept by which all ethnic groups in the country would be equal and ruling out the option of Macedonia's federalization are some of the key principles of Besa, the new ethnic Albanian political party, promoted in Skopje over the weekend, Dnevnik reports.

"Our main commitment is ensuring a new political and social order in the country. We need to build a new state different from those created in 1945, 1991 or 2001. Not only the Framework Agreement but all other previous orders in Macedonia were adopted in a time of war. We should pause to think what next needs to be done with this state," said Bilal Kasami, coordinator of Besa's initiative council.

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Flash News
MIC – November 21, 2014 – 10:41am

- More than ten foreign investments come as result from the work of the 28 promoters and the diplomatic-consular representations, announced the chief of Macedonian diplomacy, Nikola Poposki according to which the economic diplomacy has positive effects.

 

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POPOSKI: GREEK ARGUMENTS ARE UNTENABLE
MIC – November 19, 2014 – 4:20pm

Greece's stance is unacceptable, unreasonable and in breach of the basic principle of honoring international law, said Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki at the round table which took place in Skopje on Tuesday, focusing on Macedonia's prospects for NATO membership in the wake of the latest summit of the Alliance.

"Many decision-makers in the NATO and EU member states cannot remain indifferent to this kind of arguments," he said in reference to Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos' latest statement according to which Greece has no intention of changing anything in its position and will carry on demanding that Macedonia's new name be both for external and internal use.

On the one hand, he said, this is demonstration of power by a country that is inside the club and on the other hand this is a serious handicap for the leadership of a country that considers itself the cradle of democracy.

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STUDENTS STAGE PROTEST MARCH AGAINST EXTERNAL EXAMINATION AT UNIVERSITIES
MIC – November 18, 2014 – 1:38pm

November 17, International Students' Day, was marked Monday with a protest march that several thousand students staged against the government proposal of introducing an external examination at all universities—both private and public—on the results of which it will depend whether students will be allowed to continue their higher education or not.

"No to the External," "The External Exam is Titanic for Our Education," "We Are People, Not Numbers," "This is the Beginning, Not the End," and "You Want to Make a Monument Out of Our Education, Too" read some of the banners carried by the students of the University of Ss Cyril and Methodius.

The protest began from outside the University of Ss Cyril and Methodius and ended outside the Ministry of Education where a small delegation of students held talks with representatives of the institution. All along, they were escorted by about a hundred police officers taking care of the safety of those protesting and of all other citizens.

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Flash News
MIC – November 18, 2014 – 10:01am

-    From 2014 to 2020, 664.2 million euros from the EU will be available to Macedonia via the IPA2 Programme, of which 205.9 million euros is for carrying out EU membership reforms, 298.8 million euros for regional and socio-economic development, 53.2 million euros for employment, social policies, education, gender equality promotion and human resources development, and 106.3 million euros for agriculture and rural development.

 

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MINISTER POPOSKI: I NEVER ACCEPTED TO NEGOTIATE MACEDONIAN IDENTITY
MIC – November 17, 2014 – 10:17am

Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki contradicted the reports that he had accepted to talk about identity issues, in view of the proposal that BIRN has recently revealed. According to Poposki, those reports are misinformation and manipulation mismatched with reality, whose primary goal is to underestimate Macedonia's positions to this strategically important issue.

"The positions we have assumed to this imposed dispute are principled and unambiguous," reads his announcement.

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SPANISH AMBASSADOR CARRANZA SUPPORTS IDEA OF ASSUMING NEW APPROACH TO NAME DISPUTE RESOLUTION
MIC – November 14, 2014 – 2:33pm

At his first meeting with reporters on assuming the office of Spanish Ambassador to Macedonia, Mr. Ramon Abaroa Carranza said his country supported the idea of the European Commission's assuming a new approach to Macedonia for the purpose of unblocking the country's European integration.

"For the first time ever, there are ideas in the European Commission of assuming a different, more active approach to Macedonia, that is, to the resolution of the name dispute and the country's European integration. I do not know how these ideas could be carried out. What I do know is there are ideas which have not yet been developed in detail," Ambassador Carranza said.

Madrid believes that the name dispute is a bilateral issue that should be resolved within the framework of the UN, while Spain, Mr. Carranza said, supports the European integration of Macedonia even more now that the European Commission has issued its sixth recommendation for opening membership negotiations.

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