North Macedonia´s elections: crucial test of democratic maturity 

Press Releases 
 
 
  • North Macedonia’s commitment to overcome divisions sets an example for the whole neighbourhood 
  • The EU stands ready to continue to support the newly-elected Sobranie  
  • Agreements with Bulgaria and Greece at the very centre of North Macedonia’s European future  

Leading MEPs call for a transparent, credible and objective election campaign, free from disinformation and intimidation.

Following the announcement that general elections in North Macedonia will be held on 15 July, European Parliament’s standing rapporteur for North Macedonia Ilhan Kyuchyuk (Renew, BG), Chair of the European Parliament's delegation to the EU-North Macedonia Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) Andreas Schieder (S&D, AT) and its Vice-Chair Marion Walsmann (EPP, DE) said:


“On 15 July, the people of North Macedonia will exercise their political right to decide who will govern the country during the next four years, steering it through the crucial phases of demanding EU accession talks.


Under the current challenging circumstances, we call upon all political forces in the country to be responsible and follow through on commitments undertaken in the Code for Fair Democratic Elections, enabling the country to successfully pass a crucial democratic test.


We urge the authorities to ensure a fair and smooth electoral process in line with international obligations and standards, to be held following adequate protective health measures.

Political parties, relevant state bodies including the election administration, civil society and the media have a joint duty to ensure a transparent, credible and objective election campaign, free from disinformation and intimidation.

The historic agreements with Bulgaria and Greece are at the very centre of North Macedonia’s European future, enhancing reconciliation and good neighbourly relations across the European continent.

Through inclusiveness, tolerance and positive diplomacy, North Macedonia has demonstrated its commitment to overcoming internal and external divisions, setting an example for the whole neighbourhood. Continuation of the inter-party dialogue after the elections is of utmost importance. The newest NATO member needs political certainty to advance in its democratic consolidation and transformation process.

Following the elections, the EU stands ready to continue to give its support to the newly-elected Sobranie and the Government. Fully functional institutions, kept accountable by an engaged and committed opposition, will be needed to guide the country to a post-pandemic recovery, to continue with EU-related reforms and to deliver on the European aspirations of North Macedonia´s citizens. We welcome European Commission’s efforts to present the draft negotiating framework as soon as possible and urge Member States to adopt it without delay. ”


Background


Early general elections in North Macedonia were originally planned for 12 April but then put on hold due to the COVID-19 crisis. The country is now being run by a caretaker government that was originally tasked with organising the polls and the Parliament is currently not in session.

North Macedonia submitted its membership application in 2004 and became a candidate for accession to the EU in 2005. On 26 March, the European Council endorsed the decision to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania. The Commission is finalising the documents setting out the draft frameworks that will be used to negotiate Albania and North Macedonia’s accessions to the EU, once they have been adopted by the Council. The publication of the European Commission’s enlargement package has been postponed until autumn due to the COVID-19 pandemic.