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Monday, November 20, 2017, 

General debate on Law on Use of Languages ends

General debate on Law on Use of Languages ends

Skopje, 14 November 2017 (MIA) - The Parliament finished Tuesday the general debate on the draft-law on the use of languages. MPs are expected to vote on the bill tomorrow, followed by filing of amendments to the draft-text.

Over the course of the the discussion, MPs of the ruling majority said confidence building among communities was ongoing, resulting in a better system, better laws, better life for all.

"Let's send a message that the Parliament will guarantee all citizens' rights, regardless of the ethnicity and its language", said deputies of the ruling majority.

The opposition again said the law was unconstitutional, non-applicable and would result in additional frustration among citizens. Therefore, it will file amendments towards "removing provisions from the law that violate the Constitution".

"We will propose a solution that removes the discriminatory element on the Serbian, Roma and Bosniak communities, not only on the Albanian", said VMRO DPMNE's Ilija Dimovski.

The law stipulates that all state institutions, public enterprises, agencies, directorates, organizations, commissions, legal entities with public jurisdiction use the language spoken by 20 percent of Macedonian citizens (Albanian language) besides the Macedonian language.

This will enable citizens to use the language in judicial, administrative and investigative procedures.

The law also regulates the language use by elected or appointed officials with head offices in Skopje or municipalities where at least 20 percent of citizens speak a language other than the Macedonian.

In Parliament and Government, an MP or an elected or appointed official using a language other than the Macedonian, spoken by at least 20 percent of Macedonian citizens, can chair a session in that language.

Moreover, websites of institutions will be managed in Macedonian language and the language spoken by at least 20 percent of Macedonian citizens, whereas titles of institutions will also be written in both languages.

Names of streets, squares, bridges and other infrastructure facilities in municipalities where at least 20 percent of citizens speak a language other than the Macedonian, as well as the City of Skopje, will be multilingual.

The law's implementation will be carried out by an Agency for the Use of the Language, accompanied by an Inspectorate for the Use of Languages within the Ministry of Justice. ik/17:35

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