European Western Balkans

Kurz: I attended Macedonian political rally as a member of a sister party and there is nothing controversial about that

Sebastian Kurz; Photo: KURIER / Gilbert Novy

meta_maliSKOPJE – At Sunday’s VMRO-DPMNE rally, I attended as a member of the European People’s Party and there is nothing controversial about that, said Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sebastian Kurz, in response to a reporter’s question after meeting with his Macedonian counterpart, Nikola Poposki.

“I am here as Austria’s Foreign Minister. On Sunday I attended a party event as a representative of the National Democratic Party of Austria. For me it is not uncommon to attend events of sister political parties. In my speech, I did not tell the people who to vote for. I called on the public to go to the polls, the decision is theirs to make”, said Kurz.

Foreign Minister Kurz appeared at the central rally of the VMRO-DPMNE in Skopje, and addressed the gathered citizens and stressed that Macedonia is on a good path towards the European Union.

The Austrian Foreign Minister in his statement after his yesterday’s meeting with Poposki stressed that the conduct of free and fair elections, and the implementation of reform priorities will put Macedonia back on its path towards European integration.

“I hope you will be successful in implementing the important reform steps, primarily aimed at strengthening the rule of law and what is needed now is free and fair elections. If all succeeds, then Macedonia is well on its way to the EU and, of course, there will be the opening of negotiations. For me, this is positive and correct”, said Kurz, expressing support for Macedonia’s integration into the EU.

Minister Poposki thanked Austria for their support, and added that Macedonia is working intensively in the shortest possible period of time to start the process of negotiations focusing especially on fundamental chapters 23 and 24 of the negotiations.

Both ministers at yesterday’s meeting adopted an Action Plan for cooperation in 2017, regarding EU integration, cooperation with the Berlin process, as well as cooperation with the upcoming Austrian presidency of the OSCE in 2017.

“The refugee crisis was a major challenge for Austria. I’m very grateful that you supported us in this very difficult situation. I wish you much happiness and energy in your election campaign. I am very happy that I was invited to this impressive manifestation”, said Kurz.

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