In a letter dated 16 May Sergei Stanishev informed PES member parties’ leaders that he would join the civil rally in Skopje, FYR Macedonia this Sunday. ‘PES is deeply concerned by growing tensions in the country. We have long supported Macedonia’s efforts to join the EU and NATO and we have always promoted and advocated for rule of law, media freedom and independence of the judiciary. Аs friends and partners we have also expressed our concerns about the ongoing political crisis. However, the government has not made any progress yet towards accounting for the many allegations of its wrongdoings arising from the disclosures of our sister party’, the letter says. Stanishev goes on to say that this continued inaction casts serious doubt on its commitment to the democratic principles and values and undermines the country’s progress towards EU and NATO membership. He reminds that he has shared these concerns with interlocutors from all sides during a PES fact-finding mission to Skopje last February, but alas – to no avail.

Stanishev also reminded that last Monday leaders and officials from Social Democratic parties of the EU and the Western Balkans gathered in Sofia for the PES annual ‘Western Balkans Conference’ to discuss EU integration, economic and social consequences of Enlargement, and the decline of fundamental values in the region. ‘Given the current events, we discussed at length the situation in FYR Macedonia and issued a statement deeply deploring the events in Kumanovo and urged the government to take all necessary measures to avoid any further bloodshed and call for national unity’, he said.

‘We strongly believe that FYR Macedonia has a future in the European Union. However, it is high time that the government engaged in an active, inclusive and goodwill dialogue and finally deliver on the fundamental values and democratic standards enshrined in the EU enlargement process’, PES President said.

Stanishev also points out that in the last few days, thousands of people have taken the streets to show their dissatisfaction with the current government. ‘As we continue to fully support the fundamental democratic right of citizens to assemble and peacefully protest, we reiterate our appeal to all sides to refrain from any violence. On Sunday we will join the voices of Macedonian citizens in Skopje to show our solidarity with PES Associate member SDSM and its leader Zoran Zaev who have triggered the democratic voices in society, to reiterate these appeals to the government and to denounce violence’.

S&D MEP and PES President Sergei Stanishev concludes by inviting party leaders to closely follow the developments and support the democratic aspirations of the people of FYR Macedonia.