Dutch Ambassador Plomp: Europe follows name negotiations ‘closely’

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Europe closely is following the negotiations, taking place in Brussels, between Macedonia and Greece under the auspices of UN’s envoy Matthew Nimetz, Wouter Plomp said Tuesday.

“It’s fair to say that no one expects the issue to be settled tomorrow, but it is important that some positive initiatives have emerged in the past few months and that things are headed into a positive direction,” the Dutch Ambassador to Macedonia said in his lecture on the State of Play of Human Rights at the Faculty of Security in Skopje.

According to him, the Dutch government has no position involving the name dispute.

“I can only say that my government hopes the two countries will find a solution,” noted Ambassador Plomp.

The Netherlands, he said, is a partner of Macedonia on its Euro-Atlantic integration path and the country will continue to walk side by side with it provided that the government keeps on pursuing reforms, most notably in the sphere of rule of law.

Independent judiciary, autonomous institutions and rule of law were pinpointed by the Dutch Ambassador as being the backbone of reform implementation in Macedonia in ensuring that human rights were to be truly respected.

“Rule of law is imperative to exercise human rights. The government has to take that path and to establish strong institutions that guarantee respect of human rights and we will remain consistent to our approach. The country will walk with you all the way,” said the Ambassador of the Netherlands.

Mentioning that Macedonia few years ago had faced serious challenges regarding freedom of the media, Plomp said things had improved significantly in the sphere in 2017. As a result, one of the main priorities of the Dutch embassy was to ensure unbiased news coverage, he stated referring to the TV political show 360 Degrees airing on Alsat-M, which is funded by the Dutch embassy.

“We are all aware of the terrifying consequences occurring when no one observes the observer. It is why we invested so much in transparency in which the media play a key role,” he stated.

The Netherlands for over 20 years has been supporting Macedonia to improve the state of human rights, Ambassador Plomp said referring to several projects.

Plomp’s lecture was delivered as part of the Diplomatic Forum of the Faculty of Security on the occasion of Human Rights Day 2017.