Tensions over Law on the Albanian Language in North Macedonia

 The Macedonian opposition is announcing amendments to the Law on the Use of Languages, in line with the opinion of the Venice Commission, which has serious objections to some provisions of the legal settlement that advance the use of the Albanian language in North Macedonia.

“VMRO-DPMNE will introduce amendments to the Law on the Use of Languages, which will contain mainly the remarks of the Venice Commission, which will be in accordance with the Macedonian Constitution. We must make this law constitutional, in the spirit of European practices, which will include the remarks of the Venice Commission. No one in this state should feel hurt. That is why these changes should be supported by Zaev and his ruling coalition, which will demonstrate maturity, but also prove that there will be no compromises with justice," Mickovski said.

According to the opposition, the amendments will include the Venice Commission's remarks, primarily concerning the judiciary, as Commission experts have found that the substance of the law could significantly slow down the functioning of the entire judiciary, risking serious violations on the right to a fair trial guaranteed by the International Covenant on Human Rights.

SDSM did not comment on the opposition's initiative but stressed its readiness to find an acceptable solution.

“The Commission's remarks have to do mostly with litigation, while on other issues the Venice Commission is more liberal. If we want to find good solutions, this opportunity is now being given to us. With this we will prove that we have fulfilled the recommendations of this commission, but also the citizens of this state, regardless of whether they are Albanians or Macedonians, are more satisfied”, stated the SDSM Vice-President Radmila Shekerinska.

However, the Venice Commission has also serious concerns regarding the use of the Albanian language in inter-institutional and internal communication between administrative and civil servants, recommending that the Albanian language be limited to official written communication.

The Democratic Union for Integration says they will not accept any changes to the law which they consider as the last and best possible balance between the two communities in the country.

“We publicly say that with the adoption of this law the Ohrid Agreement regarding the adoption of laws has been finalized. Whatever the opening of this law implies the opening of the Ohrid Agreement and the opening of this agreement implies the return of relations between the communities before its arrival in 2001,” said Bujar Osmani, deputy prime minister and spokesman of the Democratic Union for Integration party.

The Albanian opposition has also spoken out against the amendment of the Law on the Albanian language, but fears that this situation will now be misused by the ruling parties for a pre-election campaign. The movement has invited Albanian parties to a meeting to build a common stance.

"It is the last moment for the Albanian political parties to sit down and take a position in line with the statement of the Albanian political parties, so we must call the party table and take a stance that the Albanian language is resolved in the context of constitutional changes and official life, equal to the Macedonian language ”, declared Bilal Kasami from Besa Movement.

The law on the use of languages ​​regulating the official use of the Albanian language was adopted on March 14, 2018, but its entry into force has been delayed because the former President Gjorge Ivanov refused to enact it.
Tensions over Law on the Albanian Language in North Macedonia Tensions over Law on the Albanian Language in North Macedonia Tuesday, December 10, 2019 Rating: 5
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