THE HAGUE, 10 November 1998 - On 6 November 1998, Mr. Max van der Stoel, the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, issued a statement on a number of inter-ethnic issues in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
In the view of the High Commissioner, the promotion of harmonious inter-ethnic relations in the FYR of Macedonia will be one of the most important subjects to be politically discussed in the country in the period after the parliamentary elections and in the process of forming the new Government. His statement contains therefore a number of recommendations on this issue, in particular on questions important for the position of the Albanian minority. He focused on three major topics: Albanian language education, including higher education, access of Albanians to public service and local self-government.
Regarding Albanian language education, the High Commissioner, while acknowledging efforts of the Government to increase the number of Albanian students in secondary schools and in the universities, stressed the need to undertake further reforms in this area. In particular, he recommended creation of a new higher education institution for training teachers in Albanian language elementary and secondary schools. He also suggested establishment of a trilingual (English, Macedonian, Albanian) private Higher Education Centre for Public Administration and Business.
The High Commissioner also recommended that the new Government would develop a concrete plan to intensify the search for persons of Albanian ethnicity who could be considered as candidates for the public service and that it would have regular consultations with the Albanian parties on this subject.
On the question of decentralization, the High Commissioner recommended a number of steps aimed at strengthening local self-government seen as one of the important instruments which are at the disposal of a unitary state to accommodate local needs, including local needs of persons belonging to national minorities.