We welcome the commitment to an agreement by the four main political parties in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia following the constructive negotiations in Skopje on 14 and 15 July. The latest round of talks were convened by Commissioner Hahn and facilitated by the Members of the European Parliament, Ivo Vaigl, Richard Howitt and Eduard Kukan as well as the EU and US Ambassadors to Skopje.
This agreement builds on the 2 June accord and includes the return to Parliament by the SDSM, the organisation of the new government preparing the elections which will be held on 24 April 2016 and the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the issues surrounding or arising from the interception of communications. After several months of facilitated dialogue, we welcome the political leaders' strong commitment to Euro-Atlantic integration and the European perspective. This is an important step in overcoming the current crisis and towards addressing key challenges facing the country. Political leaders in the country must now swiftly implement the agreement in good faith. We stand ready to work with all parties to ensure the full implementation of all aspects of these commitments, including the Commission's urgent reform recommendations on systemic rule of law issues.
The European Commission and the MEPs will follow up closely on the implementation of this agreement in the coming months. Progress will be discussed, inter alia, at a meeting of the High Level Accession Dialogue which will take place in September with the involvement of all signatory parties as well as civil society.
PROTOCOL to the Agreement of 2 June 2015
In the Agreement of June 2, article 6, first indent, it is stated:
"By June 10, the parties shall agree on the exact organization of the government preparing the elections". On 19 June, leaders reconfirmed their commitment to the aforementioned agreement in writing and agreed to continue discussions.
This Protocol completes the first indent of Article 6. It shall form an integral part of the 2 June Agreement.
The undersigned parties agree on the following:
1.On 1 September 2015, SDSM will return to Parliament, as set out in the second indent of Article 6 of the June 2 Agreement.
2. On 20 October 2015, a new Minister of Interior shall be appointed upon nomination by SDSM and after consultation with VMRO-DPMNE and DUI. This Minister shall be a technical appointment.
3. On 20 October 2015, a new Minister of Labour and Social Affairs shall be appointed, upon nomination of SDSM. 4. On 20 October 2015, new, additional Deputy Ministers will be appointed for the following Ministries:
a. The Ministry of Interior, upon nomination by VMRO-DPMNE
b. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, upon nomination by VMRO-DPMNE
c. The Ministry of Finance, upon nomination by SDSM
d. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Supply, upon nomination by SDSM
e. The Ministry of Information Society and Administration, upon nomination by SDSM
These Deputy Ministers shall have the full right of review and veto in their respective Ministries in all legal, financial and personnel matters related to the organisation of the elections. All the aforementioned new Ministers and Deputy Ministers shall remain in their positions in the new Government referred to below.
5. The incumbent Government will submit its formal resignation to Parliament in due time to enable the new Government to be sworn in on 15 January 2016, 100 days before the parliamentary elections which shall be held on 24 April 2016. The new Government shall be headed by a new Prime Minister nominated by VMRO-DPMNE. Its government program shall be limited to the organisation of the early parliamentary elections.
6. The above rule that the incumbent Government shall resign in time to leave office 100 days before the next elections, and that a new Government shall be appointed, shall apply to the April 2016 elections, and, following the necessary legal changes which shall be enacted as soon as possible, for future elections.
7. The parties commit to complying with this Agreement in full and in good faith. The parties also commit to avoiding any new impediments including in relation to the holding of elections on 24 April 2016.
8. The third indent of Article 6 shall be completed as follows: after "immediate action", the following text shall be added:
"By 15 September 2015, there shall be a new, Special Prosecutor with full autonomy to lead the investigations surrounding and arising from the interception of communications. This Special Prosecutor shall be appointed by agreement of the undersigned parties."
Skopje, 15 July 2015