Albania praises Macedonia on approving historic minority languages bill

Tirana, March 15 (Tirana Echo) – Albania has praised Macedonia’s decision to approve historic bill in parliament, turning Albanian into an official language at all administrative levels of the small Balkan country.

Yesterday, Macedonia’s social-democratic majority in parliament approved a controversial bill making the Albanian language official alongside its Slavic Macedonian primary language, amid fierce resistance from opposition’s main party VMRO-DPMNE.

Albanian President Ilir Meta said that this was a historic act not only for the ethnic Albanian community in the neighboring country, but also for this country’s European future.

Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati posted on Facebook that the approval of this bill was an important achievement for ethnic Albanians in the neighboring country, recognizing in their role as a state-building entity. Bushati added that this was a step forward in the country’s democratization and it Euro-Atlantic path.

Opposition’s Democratic Party (DP), on the other hand, issued a public statement hailing the approval of the law as marking progress in the establishment of a good co-existence climate between the ethnic communities in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The DP commended the Albanian political factor in the neighboring country, encouraging political co-operation for the fulfillment of all obligations deriving from the full implementation of the Ohrid agreement.

Albanian authorities have been reserved in their statements on their neighboring Macedonia, since last year former Macedonian PM Gruevski accused his Albanian counterpart Edi Rama of meddling with Macedonia’s internal affairs, alleging that Tirana has encouraged the Albanian parties in Macedonia to demand this controversial bill.

However, the new law has the official support of the European union and the United States, which have urged Macedonia’s new Prime Minister Zoran Zaev to solve its inter-ethnic problems and the name issue with Greece, before it can advance in its EU and NATO agenda.

Macedonia has been going through continuous turmoil until Albanian political parties demanded the bill as a condition to join the social-democratic government of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

The country has a bitter inter-ethnic history, with ethnic Albanians rising into armed insurgency in 2001, finally ensuring greater rights for the Albanian minority in the Slavic majority country.

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