UMD Criticizes European Commission Over Omission of Macedonian in Progress Report

October 14, 2011 – Washington, D.C. – The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) criticized the European Commission over the omission of the adjective ‘Macedonian’ from the October 12, 2011 European Commission’s Progress Report on the Republic of Macedonia.

UMD believes that the European Union (EU) and its institutions are contradictory and inconsistent with the EU’s own principles on human rights, mutual respect, national dignity, and right to self-determination. The EU’s actions are in clear violation of international norms of referring to Macedonians as Macedonians and their language as Macedonian.

“Macedonians worldwide are deeply concerned with these ongoing violations of the right to self-determination from the EU.  The EU clearly favors the unprincipled policy of its member-state Greece, a country which is in complete violation of all European Human Rights Conventions,” said UMD President Metodija A. Koloski.  “It is not surprising that the adjective ‘Macedonian’ was excluded by the same institution, which in 1991 and 1992, passed resolutions stating that it would recognize Macedonia ‘under a name which does not include the term Macedonia.’  20 years later, the EU still practices these discriminatory policies towards Macedonia and Macedonians.” 

The Republic of Macedonia was granted candidate status for EU membership in 2005.  In the EC’s 2005 Analytical Report and Opinion on Macedonia, the adjective ‘Macedonian’ and ‘ethnic Macedonian’ were used.  In the 2006 and 2007 Progress Reports, they were used again only this time the adjectives were all italicized.  Starting in 2008, and subsequently in 2009, 2010, and 2011, the EC Progress Reports have excluded the adjectives ‘Macedonian’ and ‘ethnic Macedonian.’ 

The 2011 EC Progress Report on Macedonia is the only such report to exclude the adjective used to identify one’s nationality, citizenship, ethnicity, and language.  All other 2011 EC Progress Reports include such adjectives, for example ‘Albanian,’ ‘Croatian,’ ‘Bosniak,’ ‘Icelandic,’ ‘Montenegrin,’ ‘Serbian’ and ‘Turkish.’  The Progress Report is inconsistent with those sent to the other neighboring countries in the region, which is still fragile.  By engaging in these inconsistencies, the EC contributes to political instability in the region, which is contrary to the official EU policy for stabilization and association of all Southeast European nations within the European Union.  

Furthermore, UMD questions the EC’s inconsistency, professionalism, and respect for religious freedom in this year’s report especially that in its 2005 and 2006 reports, the EU mentioned the ‘Macedonian Orthodox Church.’  However, in regards to relations with Serbia in this year’s report, the EC states that “…unresolved issues remain concerning relations between the Orthodox churches -” whereas in the Progress Report on Montenegro, it states that “tensions remain between the Serbian and Montenegrin Orthodox Churches over canonical recognition and property issues…” 

UMD requests that the European institutions clearly recognize the Macedonian identity, language, and people.  Self-determination is a basic human right guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which all EU member-states are party to as members of the United Nations.  UMD urges the European Commission to immediately correct the inconsistencies within its 2011 Progress Report on Macedonia and to publicly apologize to the Macedonian people for the practice of negating the Macedonian identity in the last three years of Progress Reports. 

Through its global network, UMD will bring awareness of this issue to all major recognized human rights institutions, such as the United Nations, Helsinki Commissions, the Council of Europe, and the European Parliament, among others.

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