Vienna, 28 April 2014 Press release

Kurz: "I congratulate the winners of the elections in Macedonia and appeal to the sense of responsibility of all political forces"

Call to form an inclusive government and tackle urgently required reforms

Vienna, 28 April 2014 – Austrian Foreign Minister Kurz congratulated Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov (VMRO-DPMNE) on his re-election on 27 April 2014 and the leader of the ruling party VMRO-DPMNE, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski on his election success in the Macedonian parliamentary elections held on the same day. Kurz: "Despite the reports about incidents and irregularities I agree with the position of the OSCE election observation mission conclusion that the elections themselves were very well administered, even though there were a number of problems occurring in the run-up to the elections. It is now essential that the alleged irregularities are investigated so lessons can be learned for the next elections. I appeal to all parties to smooth down frictions resulting from the electoral process through parliamentary and democratic mechanisms." Kurz also stressed the importance of forming a well-balanced government with a team reflecting the diversity of Macedonia that is able to contribute to reconciliation.

Kurz pointed out that the European Commission suggested taking up EU accession negotiations with Macedonia for the fifth time in succession last autumn and Austria will continue to apply itself for the earliest possible start to EU accession negotiations with Macedonia. Efforts in this direction have to date been impeded by the name issue and the dispute with Greece in this matter. "The EU has to stick to its promises as Macedonia has made efforts to fulfil the specifications of the Commission. Accession negotiations must not be delayed into an unforeseeable future because of the name issue. This could indeed have consequences for the stability in the region; and the immediate neighbours, especially those in the EU, can certainly have no interest in this happening. However, Macedonia will itself need to demonstrate that an improvement of good neighbourly relations is truly important to the country."

Foreign Minister Kurz emphasised that Macedonia must still do much in the context of rule of law and its fight against corruption. Progress in these issues will also be important for future foreign investment, without which the country will encounter serious difficulties in achieving economic growth and raising the standard of living.

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