EU foreign policy chief to Macedonians: Don't play with fire

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says she is worried about the situation in Macedonia.

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(Getty Images, file)
(Getty Images, file)

But speaking on Monday after a meeting of EU's Foreign Affairs Council, Mogherini, who was on a tour of the Balkans last week, added that she was "trying to learn to move beyond the worries" and see the potential for solving Macedonia's "institutional, political crisis."

Asked by reporters whether she was concerned about the stability of the country, and about the discussions EU foreign ministers had on Monday on that topic, she replied:

"I will not obviously give details of what one minister or the other has said, but I can tell you that in general terms all the ministers were backing strongly the messages I have expressed in Skopje - by the way, that I expressed in my meetings, with the president, with all the political leaders but also publicly, not only on behalf of the European Union, but also on behalf of NATO secretary-general."

"How worried I am? I am, but I am trying to learn to move beyond the worries and see the potential for solving institutional crisis, political crisis. I believe that what Skopje is facing today is still a political and an institutional crisis. My main worry is that this turns into an inter-ethnic crisis and this has been the main message I have passed to those who have political responsibility in the country: do not play with fire, do not turn this into an inter-ethnic confrontation that would ruin the country and probably spread further beyond," Mogherini said.

She added that she "believes there are instruments":

"First of all, the wisdom of the president (Gjorge Ivanov) and second, the capacity of the parliament to proceed for instance by electing a speaker I imagine, or unblocking the situation, so that this institutional and political crisis can be managed with the instruments that Skopje has, without interference."

"It is only normal that friends care about the state of play and the future of partners," said the EU official, and concluded:

"This is where we are; we believe that there are possibilities to come out of the institutional crisis, that resources to do that in Skopje exist and I have had a very frank, but also constructive exchange on this with all political leaders in the parliament and also with the President. So, I hope the wisdom will manage to prevail."

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