Speaking on the margins of his visit to Ukraine, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel issued the following statement today (3 March) on the situation in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:
The escalation of the political situation in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is very alarming. The political stagnation threatens to set the country further back on its path to integration with the European Union.
President Ivanov is refusing to grant a mandate to the opposition leader to form a government, although the latter has gathered the necessary parliamentary majority behind him. This contravenes democratic principles and the European values that the country has undertaken to uphold. President Ivanov should reconsider his decision and correct it in the interests of the people of his country.
Germany supports the clear messages conveyed by the High Representative, my friend Federica Mogherini, to political decision-makers and representatives of civil society from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in Skopje yesterday.
I call on all those in Skopje who hold political responsibility to act responsibly even in the currently heated political atmosphere, to moderate their statements, and to do everything they can not to damage relations between the ethnic groups.
We firmly support the country’s further integration with the European Union, and very much regret that the unresolved question on the country’s name has prevented faster progress on the path to such integration for years now. This has certainly played a significant role in the current escalation of the situation. There must be immediate movement on this issue.