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Brussels, 9 April 2013
Press points by Commissioner Štefan Füle following the fourth High Level Accession Dialogue (HLAD) in Skopje
''This is my third visit to Skopje this year and finally one for the High Level Accession Dialogue – but also to review the implementation of the 1st of March political agreement that addressed the events of 24th of December.
You will shortly receive conclusions from this meeting that we agreed with the Prime Minister so I would concentrate on couple of points:
First – on the HLAD: After the weeks marked by the political crisis, we could at last focus on HLAD agenda. Since our last meeting in September significant work has been undertaken and progress made on some important issues, but as we agreed, despite the successes the work continues and much more remains to be done.
Second – our Spring report: The timely and valuable information from today's meetings will contribute to make last minute updates to the Commission's Report which we will publish next Tuesday.
That is why the third point is important – implementation of the 1st of March agreement. Politicians here created the crisis and they have the political responsibility to overcome its effects by implementing this agreement. They haven´t done so yet, at least not fully.
Point number four – media: the events of 24th December, which started the crisis, affected negatively also the Media Dialogue between journalists and government. It is essential that the government resumes this dialogue with journalists so that they engage on the reforms in this field.
Remember that defending freedom of media is the essence of democracy. The preliminary report of the OSCE/ODIHR on recent local elections only strengthened this argument by listing among shortcomings also the partisan media coverage. Authorities need to address these issues.
To conclude: Today's session gave us also an opportunity to look back and we agreed that the High Level Accession Dialogue has given you a very good platform to show what you can do if everybody remains focused on the European agenda. We agreed that HLAD delivered on its two main objectives – to put reforms back on track and bring the EU agenda to the mainstream of public discussion. And I could only wish that the image of your country matches the progress achieved in the reform process.
Therefore it is very important that all political forces remain committed to European integration and do not make it hostage of their political competition. Because that only harms this country and its people.''