EU officials "reconcile" Macedonian parties

SKOPJE -- The Macedonian authorities and the opposition have reached agreement, with the mediation of the EU, to overcome the political crisis.

(Beta, file)
(Beta, file)

As a consequence, all parties will return to parliament, it was announced on Friday.

It was also agreed that all parties will participate in the local elections, the Macedonian media reported.

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, leader of the opposition SDSM Branko Crvenkovski and a EU troika, led by EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule, the news agency MIA reported.

"The agreement was reached at the joint meeting of the ruling and opposition parties in the presence of our friends and partners from the EU. I expressed my satisfaction with the positive attitude of the leaders of the government and the opposition, which made it possible to restore Macedonia's European agenda," said Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov.

It was also agreed to establish an ad hoc fact-finding committee regarding incidents in the assembly last December.

After the local elections, electoral reform will be launched which willsee participation of the OSCE, while today's deal provides for the possibility to call early parliamentary elections, but without setting any timeframes, said European Parliament rapporteur for Macedonia Richard Howitt.

The EU troika, which consists of Fule, Howitt, and Jerzy Buzek, also met with Ali Ahmeti, leader of the ethnic Albanian DUI party.

The Macedonian parliament last December passed the country's budget for 2013 while demonstrations and clashes were ongoing in front of the building. A fight broke out inside as opposition MPs and reporters were forced to leave.

SDSM leader Branko Crvenkovski said at the time that opposition MPs would not participate in the work of parliament and urged their supporters to engage in acts of civil disobedience.