SKOPJE, 27 September 2012 – Irish Minister for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton, the representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, during an official visit today in Skopje discussed the implementation of reforms, the need for further reconciliation, and the role OSCE can play in advancing the reform and integration processes.
Following a meeting with Teuta Arifi, the Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs, Creighton said addressing journalists: “I welcome substantial progress on the domestic reform agenda achieved in the past years, and encourage the authorities to continue implementation of reforms, especially those related to the Ohrid Framework Agreement, freedom and plurality of the media, and electoral reform.”
She stressed the importance of inclusivity and reconciliation and good neighbourly relations, especially in the light of inter-ethnic incidents in early 2012. “Addressing underlying causes of tension would help consolidate a model for a viable multi-ethnic society,” Creighton underlined.
She advised the authorities to make the best use of the OSCE, its Mission to Skopje and its Institutions in achieving this goal, as well as in dealing with other outstanding issues, such as the current reform of media legislation, namely decriminalization of defamation.
Creighton underlined that the Ohrid Framework Agreement has served as an “effective stabilization tool”, and it’s important to continue its implementation. “A qualitative assessment of the progress and remaining gaps in the implementation is also important, and the OSCE can assist the authorities in this,” she concluded. Later today Creighton is meeting with representatives of the civil society dealing with human rights, good governance and media freedom.
Visit to Skopje is part of Creighton’s official visit to the region in her dual capacity of the representative of the OSCE Chair-in-Office and the incoming EU Presidency. The trip also included meetings in Belgrade and Pristina, and will be concluded on Friday with meetings in Ljubljana and Tirana.