“Macedonia’s President Gjorge Ivanov has refused for the second time to sign the law that makes Albanian the second official language in the country, even though legal experts say he is obliged to do so.

Ivanov’s action has made the political situation in Macedonia more fragile again, and security has been tightened following threats against ruling party MPs.

The country had started to recover from a major political crisis since the new Social Democratic government came to power in mid-2017 and pledged reforms that will bring it closer to EU and Nato membership. However, the latest developments suggest that the situation in Macedonia is far from being stable.

The controversial language law was adopted on March 14 for the second time at a tense session in parliament. According to the parliament’s new regulations, the law should be signed by the president within seven days and parliament speaker Talat Xhaferi said that Ivanov is obliged to sign the decree.

Ivanov had previously vetoed the bill following its first adoption in January, saying it was unconstitutional. According to the constitution, the president cannot veto a law approved by MPs for the second time, but Ivanov said he will refuse to sign the bill into law as it was adopted in an “inappropriate parliamentary procedure”.

‘As president I will not allow this. The constitution and my conscience do not permit me to sign a decree approving such a law,’ Ivanov said in a video broadcast posted on his website late on March 14.” (BneIntelliNews)

“The Assembly is important to move forward on its agenda and focus on the necessary reforms that all parties have said they will support in the direction of achieving Macedonia’s European and Euro-Atlantic integrations, the US Embassy in Skopje said, commenting on recent developments with the Law on Languages, announced the Voice of America in Macedonian.

The Embassy recalls that Prime Minister Zoran Zaev confirmed last night that the obligation and responsibility of the government and political leaders is to promote the interests of all citizens in the country.

‘The country has the opportunity to make progress towards the membership in the EU and in NATO, which the majority of all citizens support,’ the embassy added.” (translated from 24 Vesti)

“Macedonia, Serbia and Albania consider economic cooperation with Estonia as having great potential, officials and executives said following a visit by Estonian businesspeople to these countries organized by the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

‘Where ten years ago we had no substantial economic relations with the Balkans, we have since reached a point where the accession of the Western Balkan countries to the EU will hopefully become a reality in the coming years,’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Economic and Development Affairs Väino Reinart said in a press release.

Mait Palts, director general of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the message from all of the countries visited was the same — there are many opportunities for Estonian businesses to expand their business on these markets.

Palts described a cooperation agreement concluded between the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia during the mission’s visit to Serbia as testimony to the mutual desire for cooperation.

‘I urge Estonian businesses to better familiarize themselves with the opportunities offered by Balkan countries, as almost all sectors could find a niche there,’ he added.” (ERR.ee)