Civil – Center for Freedom addressed four Ministers in the Government, who will be given questions within the framework of their scope of work several times before the elections, and once after the election process. We asked to have meetings with the Minister of Interior Oliver Spasovski, Minister of Labor and Social Policy Frosina Remenski, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Poposki and Minister of Justice Adnan Jashari.
The first to respond to our invitation was Minister Oliver Spasovski, with whom Civil Media spoke on December 9, 2015.
With Spasovski we touched upon the challenges of the security crisis, the departization of the Ministry of Interior, the (non) existence of parallel armed structures and the control over them, the plans to create conditions for free elections and restoring citizens’ trust in this institution before the elections and after them.
[youtube width="600" height="400"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BILErBztYMU[/youtube]
CIVIL Media: Macedonia is experiencing a long-standing political crisis, which has intensified with the political "bombs" and the security crisis in Kumanovo. According to reports of relevant international and national organizations, the state and the media are captivated. Is Macedonia facing an internal security crisis? As the new Minister of Interior, what is your plan for dealing with these challenges? Do you think you will succeed in restoring the citizens’ trust in the Ministry of Interior?
SPASOVSKI: The facts that you are pointing to are confirmation of everything that has been happening to us in the past nine and a half years with this Government of VMRO-DPMNE, and it is precisely because of this that all these areas, security and political and economic crisis and the freedom of speech, are part of the problems that have been noted in all the reports of the relevant international factors of the European Commission, those who are observing us. The solution to this political crisis or the outcome, if we want it to be peaceful, is to respect the agreement of Przino, based on which we entered this Government, as a controller of the entire process that lies ahead. Whereas, the primary goal will be to restore trust in the institutions.
I, as Minister of the Interior, have four main objectives. Perhaps their number is small, however, I think they are very serious and will require serious commitment and significant assistance. One of them is to deal with all the security risks and challenges in the Republic of Macedonia and the region, which arise from various terrorist groups, Islamists ..., all with the purpose of preserving the stability in Republic of Macedonia.
The Second objective, which is a very important segment, is dealing with the refugee crisis that is not only a question of Republic of Macedonia or a problem that has been created here, therefore, neither can the solution be in the Republic of Macedonia. It is a process that should be solved by the European Union, we will have to solve it together, in coordination with the countries of the region in order for the Western Balkan route to be able to function normally, while respecting all international conventions relating to refugees. And in that context, I have made serious contacts with all the interior ministers of the region, including the Minister of Interior of Greece, and also sought assistance from the EU and US, with whom we are in constant communication, within the scope of the work of the Ministry of Interior, as the process of this crisis management is led by the Steering Committee that is headed by Nikola Todorov, Minister of Health.
The third priority is the good cooperation and refunctioning of the Special Public Prosecutor, as it is very important for Macedonia. Also, it is of great importance for the Ministry of Interior as well, having in consideration the wiretapping affair, or so-called political bombs. They tore down the reputation of the Ministry of Interior, and we are very interested, and I as the current Minister, to do everything, through the Special Prosecutor's Office, to resolve this affair, to find the perpetrators, and thereby restore the citizens’ trust in the system, and thus, create legal frameworks in the quickest possible time, which will guarantee that there is no possibility for anyone to abuse the system. Meaning, to never have what happened to us be repeated again.
And the fourth priority is to do everything possible to have a fair and democratic electoral process and democratic elections. To enable the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia to make the right decision in the following elections, without pressure, without threats and blackmail. That will mean that the Ministry of Interior has to be a Ministry of all the citizens of Republic of Macedonia. The employees will have to do their job professionally , and in that respect, every professional who will be working according to the law will have my support and assistance in the Ministry, and anyone who dares to work contrary to the law or according to certain party orders, will confront a very serious sanction. That is the message I made from the first day I entered the MOI. Certainly the MOI, in cooperation with the SEC, will have to work on revising the Voters Register, in order for this electoral process to be such as to enable the right decision of the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia and a process in which, primarily, the citizens will have trust in.
CIVIL Media: MOI was a tool for implementing the party agenda of the current party in power, instead of guaranteeing the safety and security of the citizens. In what situation did you encounter the Ministry and what will you undertake in this regard? Will MOI keep up to its task in the upcoming election process in Macedonia?
SPASOVSKI: See, the condition that was encountered in the MOI when I arrived is the same as former interior ministers spoke of. You, as well as the entire Macedonian public, had the opportunity to hear through the project "The truth about Macedonia", how the MOI is, in fact, VMRO or MVRO-VMRO, how one of the meeting rooms is used for party headquarters, and the second one for the reception of foreign embassies, how vehicles and human resources are also being abused ... I would really like for things to be performed professionally in the MOI, to give the professionals that are working in the MOI a serious chance to perform their work and tasks. MOI has to be a Ministry that will protect the interests of the citizens, and not of the political parties, regardless of the political party to which the ministers belong to ... My task and my goal will be to constantly point out to all the employees that it is only the employees of the Ministry that owe the citizens, because it is through the taxes that they receive their salary and exist with their families, and that they have no greater obligation to anyone, as they do to the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia. I really expect that through the right activity of all the professionals in the MOI, we will be able to create an institution in which we will have confidence, which will be respected and will respond to the challenge of - having a fair and democratic process.
CIVIL Media: Do you believe that you have full insight into the MOI? Is there a parallel government in the Counter Intelligence departments and uniformed part of the polices? More specifically, do you believe that you will be able to deal with the partization of the security structures in Macedonia?
SPASOVSKI: Two things are very important in the Ministry, which I would like to emphasize, and which I will advocate. One of them is depoliticization, to make full depoliticization of the MOI, and the second one is to decriminalize the institution. These two things are not a process that will end in a day or two, a week or a month, this is not a process that can be completed fully, or 100%, nor in the long term. However, this is a time when the process can begin and because of this, establishing control, through the work of the professionals and through the most severe penalties for those who will not respect the norms, rules and legal provisions and who will act according to other rules, will have to be a top priority. That is also my goal and that will be my approach in this entire period. To begin the process of depoliticization and decriminalization of this institution, in order to increase citizens' trust in it.
CIVIL Media: Does MOI have an insight into the peculiar parallel security structures, that is, do you keep the situation under control as far as members of the private agencies are entitled to be armed?
SPASOVSKI: In terms of the private security agencies, there are legal regulations and legal norms that each of the agencies has to fullfill, and based on these norms, permits and licenses for work can be issued and, thus, their functioning allowed. There are committees working in the function of supervising these security agencies, and every security agency or other relevant structure that needs to be controlled by the MOI will be strictly sanctioned if it makes any misuse or acts contrary to the law. All with the purpose of the citizens having trust in every institution that exists in the Republic of Macedonia.
Camera: Atanas Petrovski