European Western Balkans

Knut Fleckenstein MEP: Macedonia's citizens want to live in a democratic country

Dear friends,

My name is Knut Fleckenstein. I am a Member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs and Vice-Chair of the Group of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament.

First of all, let me offer my condolences to the family members and friends of those who were killed by an act of terrorism. We condemn every form of violence. And we are against every attempt to misuse this act of terrorism for party politics.

I haven’t come from Brussels to Skopje to tell the people of Macedonia how to deal with the political situation in your country. You will decide this by your own. You do not need guests from abroad to decide about this. I have come to Skopje this Sunday afternoon to show my solidarity, not only with my social democratic friends but with all those who are peacefully demonstrating here for democracy and for the respect of fundamental freedoms.

Macedonia needs a U-turn back to more democracy and back to more solidarity among all those who want to improve today’s situation. A U-turn towards an independent judiciary, a U-turn towards independent media, a U-turn towards a successful fight against corruption and against crime, no matter whether by individual private persons or by elected officials. Macedonia also needs a U-turn to fight for democracy. These four issues are closely linked. Determined reform efforts in these areas now, this is what will bring Macedonia closer to the European Union.

I congratulate all of you who are standing now here on this square. I congratulate you for your courage and for the signal you are giving the signal that Macedonia’s citizens want to live in a democratic country based on the rule of law and the signal that today Macedonia’s citizens demonstrate peacefully for this

On protest “Citizens for Macedonia” in Skopje, 17 May 2015

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