EU expresses concerns about politically driven clashes in Macedonia.

By bne IntelliNews January 2, 2013
The delegation of the EU to Macedonia said on Dec 28 that it observed with concern and disappointment the politically driven clashes in and around the building of the parliament, a statement on the delegations website informs. The EU called on all sides to immediately stop aggressive and provocative actions. The statement reads, "While the peaceful expression of different opinions is the foundation of a strong and democratic nation, the use of violence by any parties involved undermines that system and damages its ability to govern responsibly." The EU also urged the leaders of all political parties and their supporters to act in accordance with the legislation and the parliamentary procedures, so that the citizens best interests are taken into account. The political crisis in the country aggravated sharply on Dec 24, when the opposition was ejected from the parliament after brawling in an attempt to prevent debate of the 2013 budget bill, Reuters reported. The opposition insisted that the parliaments committees must complete the discussions of the amendments to the bill first. However, the budget was adopted on the same day in the absence of the opposition lawmakers. At the time of the incident, there were also clashes outside the parliament building, where thousands of both government and opposition supporters demonstrated. After the ejection, Branko Crvenkovski, leader of the biggest opposition party SDSM, announced that they are leaving the parliament and are starting a campaign of civil disobedience. So far, the campaign has included blockades of roads, protests, and a rally in front of the headquarters of the ruling party VMRO-DPMNE.

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