European Western Balkans
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Joint EU-US letter to Prime Minister Dimitriev

Dear Prime Minister,

Thank you again for taking the time to meet with us on January 25 to discuss the further implementation of the Przino Agreement and the preparations for early elections.  As we stressed, there is urgent work to be done before Parliament’s scheduled dissolution on February 24 in order to fulfill the commitments made under the Przino Agreement and to ensure that elections will be credible.

Prior to the dissolution of Parliament and no later than February 20th, the European Union and the United States will jointly assess the implementation of Przino commitments and whether conditions are in place that would be conducive to holding credible elections on the April 24 as envisioned in the Przino Agreement.  Below are the criteria we will use in making that assessment.

By February 19:

• The State Election Commission (SEC) must be fully staffed and funded.  Regarding the voters’ registry, it must have completed an initial cross check of all relevant databases to afford a good picture of how extensive the clean-up process, including the field checks, will be.  It must have a credible program in place, with sufficient time and resources, for investigating and adjudicating the anomalies found during the cross checks.  A clear legal framework must be in place for the timely removal of names that do not belong on the voters’ register, and mechanisms established as appropriate for flagging names that cannot be removed but which require extra scrutiny.  There must be a robust and fair mechanism for dealing with complaints arising from the voters’ register clean-up process, with the OSCE invited to monitor the procedures.

• As agreed to on June 2, the four parties must reach agreement on media reforms.  Television broadcasters must demonstrate compliance with the legal requirement under Article 61 of the Law on Audio and Audio-Visual Services to provide “objective and unbiased presentation of events, with equal treatment of diverse views and opinions,” and with other laws requiring fair access to the media.

• Measures must be taken to ensure sufficient separation between State and political party activities and to sanction abuses.  Senior public officials must make clear statements and issue written instructions that no pressure on public employees will be tolerated and that no employee or citizen should fear for their employment or social services as a result of supporting or not supporting any political party or candidate.  Credible allegations of pressure and intimidation must be quickly and thoroughly investigated and (where appropriate) prosecuted by the relevant authorities.

We are committed to working with the government and the four political parties in satisfying those conditions.

Yours sincerely,

Aivo Orav, Ambassador, EU Delegation

Jess Baily, U.S. Ambassador

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