Thursday, 17. January 2019
Candidate status
Negotiation process

Process of constitutional changes in Macedonia to enter final phase, Zaev optimistic

Zoran Zaev; Photo: Government of Macedonia

SKOPJE – Prime Minister of Macedonia Zoran Zaev is optimistic that the required majority will be secured in Parliament for the vote on constitutional changes, but says the number of MPs will be known on the day of the vote.

“We will know the final number on the day of the vote. The session is scheduled for January 9, and according to the statements from the opposition regarding their presence, I expect the hearing to last for two to three days. The act of voting will show the outcome of the debate, the adoption of amendments, remarks, etc. Talks with political parties will continue, tomorrow I have a meeting with Bela Kasami from the Besa Movement and I am glad that Albanian parties from the opposition bloc like Besa and the Alliance of Albanians support NATO and EU accession unambiguously,” Zaev said in response to a journalist’s question.

With regards to the ratification of the Prespa Agreement on the Greek side, Zaev said he trusts the word of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that he will secure a parliamentary majority for ratification of both the Agreement and the protocol for joining NATO.

“New Democracy is not against Macedonia’s NATO membership. 300 MPs in the Greek parliament need to vote for ratification of the protocol,” added Zaev

Regarding the letter by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Zaev sees it as encouraging the two countries for the significance of the value of the agreement.

Stoltenberg reportedly sent a letter to both Skopje and Athens, calling for the deal to be approved in both parliaments by February 15 so that the Balkan nation can join the alliance without further delay, “Kathimerini” reported.

According to the Greek newspaper, NATO allies have agreed that a vote to ratify the Prespa Agreement in the Greek Parliament will be separate from a vote on a protocol that will lift Greece’s objections to FYROM’s bid to join NATO.

The only issue over which Zaev disagrees with Stoltenberg is that the process should be completed in the middle or late February.

“Why would we wait for the middle or the end of February? NATO can submit a ratification protocol to the Greek parliament in late January or early February,” Zaev said.

As for early parliamentary elections, he says he personally opposes the idea, however it is not only up to him, but also the party and other stakeholders.