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Minister stresses need to continue reform, address causes of inter-ethnic tensions in Macedonia

Security, Press Releases, Europe, 2012

SKOPJE, 27 September 2012 – Minister for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton T.D. during an official visit today to Skopje discussed the implementation of reforms, the need for further reconciliation, and expressed Ireland's strong support for Macedonia's EU aspirations. 

Following a meeting with Teuta Arifi, the Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs, Minister Creighton said:

“I welcome substantial progress on the domestic reform agenda achieved in the past years, and encourage the authorities to continue implementation of reforms, especially those related to the Ohrid Framework Agreement, freedom and plurality of the media, and electoral reform.”

The Minister encouraged Macedonia to continue to work to find an acceptable solution to the name issue and stressed the importance of inclusivity and reconciliation and good neighbourly relations, especially in the light of inter-ethnic incidents in early 2012. 
Minister Creighton advised the authorities to make the best use of the OSCE, its Mission to Skopje and its Institutions in achieving this goal, as well as in dealing with other outstanding issues, such as the current reform of media legislation, namely decriminalization of defamation.

Minister Creighton underlined that the Ohrid Framework Agreement (OFA) has served as an “effective stabilization tool”, and it’s important to continue its implementation. “A qualitative assessment of the progress and remaining gaps in the implementation is also important, and the OSCE can assist the authorities in this,” she concluded. Later today Creighton is meeting with representatives of civil society dealing with human rights, good governance and media freedom.  

The visit to Skopje is part of Minister Creighton’s official visit to the region in her dual capacity as representative of the OSCE Chair-in-Office and the incoming EU Presidency. The trip also included meetings in Belgrade and Pristina, and will be concluded on Friday with meetings in Ljubljana and Tirana.