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Tuesday, October 16, 2018, 

Debate: Participation of civil society – vital for Macedonia’s EU, NATO accession processes

Debate: Participation of civil society – vital for Macedonia’s EU, NATO accession processes

Skopje, 20 September 2018 (MIA) – The civil society, NGO’s should take active part in the processes for Macedonia’s EU, NATO integration, attendants of a debate, organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, concluded on Thursday.

On Sunday the government will invite all of those who may contribute to Macedonia’s EU, NATO accession talks to join in, Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska told the debate, dubbed ‘The Role of the Civil Society in the NATO and EU Integration Processes’.

‘We will need alert, outspoken civil society to monitor the performance of institutions and also stand against the fake news campaigns – the new security risk,’ Sekerinska said.

Without NGOs Macedonia would have not been invited to join NATO and be an EU candidate country set to commence the accession talks, she added.

For German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, transparency is the best weapon against fake news. On 30 September, she said, the citizens of Macedonia are offered a historic opportunity to define the country’s path toward EU and NATO.

‘It (the referendum) is about history, your culture, identity, your future within the European family. Let’s take the European road to the future together – this is the background of frequent visits of international officials to Macedonia. We have a lot to do yet, overcome many hurdles but 30 September will be the cornerstone to that effect,’ der Leyen said.

Johannes Rai, Director of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Office in Macedonia, notified that citizens and especially media were kind of worn out from the great number of visits of foreign officials to Macedonia and their recommendations for the upcoming referendum. It is also the case with the referendum campaigns of the ruling and opposition parties.

‘This is not okay, as the referendum is not a competition of political parties, but a process tackling the national interests of two countries in Europe,’ Rai said. The discussions should be focused on the content, consequences and benefits of the name agreement, he said.

German Ambassador Thomas Gerberich expressed hope that the citizens of Macedonia would come out on 30 September and make a courageous decision for the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration.

Zoran Necev, head of the ‘Societas Civilis’ EU Integration Center, presented two booklets on Macedonian model for inclusion of NGOs in the accession talks and the political dialogue in the country. lk/16:46

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