Macedonia to send language law to Venice Commission for scrutiny

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-25 04:57:55|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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SKOPJE, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Macedonian government informed Wednesday that it would send the law on the use of languages to the Venice Commission for scrutiny and would then incorporate the Commissions' remarks in the implementation of the law.

The Venice Commission, or the European Commission for Democracy through Law, is the Council of Europe's advisory body on constitutional matters.

The law will be reintroduced to parliament on Jan. 29 after being passed on Jan. 11 with 69 votes in favour, despite opposition lawmakers boycotting the session.

The law was returned to parliament as the President Gjorge Ivanov refused to decree it, arguing it violated the constitution.

But government spokesperson Mile Bosnjakovski said Wednesday at a press conference: "The law complies with the constitution and it was supported by majority of Members of Parliament (MPs)."

He added that after approval in parliament on Jan. 29, the law would be sent for assessment to the Venice Commission.

However, the opposition led by VMRO-DPMNE has strongly objected the language law. Representatives of this party told media here Wednesday they would attend the Jan. 29 plenary session to block its approval.

According to the law, the Albanian language will be used in all central government institutions, public companies and departments, courts and local authorities, informally becoming a second official language.

For this reason, VMRO-DPMNE says that the law is discriminatory to languages spoken by other minorities in the country. They have also called the law anti-constitutional because, according to them, it would lead to divisions in society.

Under the current law on languages, the Albanian language only has that status of an official language in areas where Albanians make up over 20 percent of the population.

Whereas under the new law, the official use of Albanian would extend to the entire country, where ethnic Albanians make up around a quarter of the total 2.1 million population.