Wednesday, February 03, 2016

COOL HAHN LUKE - EU Chief keeps calm over critics

Exclusive - Team Uzunov contacts European Union Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn
COOL HAHN LUKE - EU Chief keeps calm over critics
By Sasha Uzunov
The European Union's troubleshooter for Macedonia, Commissioner Johannes Hahn, has played it cool and calm by not buying into repeated attacks launched against him on social and mainstream media by a member of Macedonia's influential capital city cultural elite. 

Mr Borjan Jovanovski, a journalist, former Macedonian Presidential media advisor and self-proclaimed human rights activist, on his infamous Twitter account as well as his television appearances has constantly accused Commissioner Hahn of bias against the Opposition party, SDSM.

Mr Jovanovski belongs to a very powerful political dynasty in Macedonia established during the Yugoslav communist period by his father Meto, a prominent writer and head of foreign programming at Radio Television Skopje (RTS), the forerunner of Macedonian State Broadcaster. Mr Jovanovski has declared his support for the European Union and NATO but his endorsement of the regime in Serbia contradicts those positions.
Mr Hahn was sent to Macedonia by Brussels after massive demonstrations last year led by the Opposition SDSM against the Macedonian government led by then Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski over an alleged wiretapping and corruption scandal brought the country to its knees. Two government ministers and the head of Macedonian Intelligence, the Prime Minister's first cousin Saso Mijalkov, were forced to resign. Prime Minister Gruevski tendered his resignation nearly a month ago as part of an EU brokered agreement, known as the Przino Agreement, with a caretaker government led by a member from Mr Gruevski's party, VMRO-DPMNE, at the helm until new elections in April this year.
But those elections could be in doubt with the Opposition claiming that more time is needed to update the electoral rolls and check for false voters.
TEAM UZUNOV contacted Mr Hahn's office for a response to the constant attacks against him, asking if the EU Commissioner was aware of the contradictory views of Mr Jovanovski. The EU Chief has deftly downplayed the criticism.
TEAM UZUNOV: "Mr Hahn, you have a very difficult task in trying to resolve the political crisis in Macedonia and to make everyone happy !
"One of your staunchest critics in Macedonia is a journalist and “human rights activist” by the name of Borjan Jovanovski. Mr Jovanovski says he is pro-NATO, pro-EU, but has some contradictory views. For instance he has endorsed the regime in Serbia, [a non-EU member] which is anti-NATO and has a very bad human rights record. Mr Jovanovski has called for demonstrations against EU and NATO member Hungary but none against Serbia.
"Mr Hahn, are you concerned by Mr Jovanovski’s contradictory views, especially his endorsement of Serbia?"
Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for Commissioner Hahn:
"Commissioner Hahn has been very vocal regarding the expectations he has when it comes to constructive attitude of relevant stakeholders in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia."
Mr Jovanovski in a Twitter message, written in a mixture of Macedonian and Serbian, on October 17, 2015, said concerns about the lack of freedoms in Serbia were largely exaggerated.

Mr Jovanovski’s October 17, 2015 Twitter message, written in a mixture of Macedonian and some Serbian in which “concerns about some things being banned in Serbia are largely exaggerated."

 This is in direct contradiction to a 2015 Human Rights Watch report (see link) which condemns Serbia for no improvement in an already worse human rights record, as well as rising nationalism being fostered by the Serbian government of Prime Minister Alexander Vucic, who has also threatened to start an arms race against NATO member and neighbour and rival, Croatia. Serbia's Foreign Minister, Ivica Dacic, made a number of provocative and nasty statements about Macedonia's support for Kosovo's application to join UNESCO.
Belgrade has been strongly opposed to neighbouring state of Montenegro joining NATO, and via Republika Srpska, the Serb enclave in Bosnia-Hercegovina, has blocked Sarajevo's bid to join NATO.
Mr Jovanovski on Twitter has called for demonstrations against Hungarian diplomatic missions throughout Europe over the Budapest's proposal to build a wall to keep out refugees, but has remained silent over a controversial May 2015 ruling by the Serbian High Court which rehabilitated an ultra Serb nationalist leader Draza Mihailovic, a World War II leader whose followers collaborated with the Nazis, and who was anti-Macedonian, Albanian and Croat.
Oddly, Mr Jovanovski has deferentially referred to ultra nationalist Serb journalists as "poshtovane kolega " (respected colleagues).

Related stories -

(ROAD) SIGN OF THE TIMES - Serbia’s rocky relationship with Macedonia - see link

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