EU official urges fair elections, reform from Macedonia

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — The European Union’s top official for enlargement is urging Macedonia’s feuding party leaders to look beyond forthcoming early elections to passing reforms required for the country’s eventual accession.

Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said holding free and fair parliamentary elections on Dec. 11 — after two years of deep political crisis — would be “an important milestone” for Macedonia.

But he added that an equally important target would be to persist with Brussels-demanded reforms with the judiciary, police, and press freedom. Hahn spoke after talks with party leaders in Skopje Friday.

An EU candidate since 2005, Macedonia has been in political turmoil since February 2015, when it was revealed that the phone conversations of more than 20,000 people were monitored. The country’s two main parties traded blame for the wiretaps.

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