In the “Топ тема на ваша страна” (Top Theme on Your Side) debate show aired on Telma TV station (5 April 2017), the newly appointed Ambassador of the Mission of the Republic of Macedonia to the EU, the former MP from VMRO-DPMNE, Aleksandar Nikoloski, inter alia stated:
It’s a fact that Freedom House is an organization directly funded by George Soros, as a major and fundamental financier, thereby any comment on would be gratuitous…
However, we are ready to discuss any issue that is part of the report: we can discuss the status of the democracy,the media etc., but I couldn’t accept the report as a relevant topic.
[Source: YouTube, (from 54:40 to 55:12 in the video) date: 05 April 2017]
This statement of the new head of the Macedonian mission to the European Union, the former MP from VMRO-DPMNE, Aleksandar Nikoloski, in which he says that the US nongovernmental organization Freedom House is funded by George Soros, is untruthful. Soros is not even among the donors listed on Freedom House’s website.
This spurious assertion was enunciated by Nikoloski while answering the journalist’s question related to the last Freedom House Country Report on Nations in Transit, in which Macedonia marks further decline of democracy as well as the biggest backsliding out of all Balkan countries. According to this Country Report, in 2016 Macedonia had the lowest level of democracy since 2001, when the country experienced violent ethnic conflict.
The aforementioned Freedom House Country Report classifies Macedonia as a country with transitional government or hybrid regime on the verge of autocracy.
The general index of democracy in the country, which is a total of seven individual scores for last year, is 4.43 on a list from 1 to 7, with 1 representing the highest level of democratic progress and 7 the lowest. This index has been constantly declining in the past 10 years, i.e. from 3.86 in 2007 it reached 4.29 in 2015, and there was an additional decline last year too.
If Macedonia “reaches” the score 5, it will join the group of authoritarian regimes alongside Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Russia, Azerbaijan and other ex-Soviet republics.
Considering the individual scores, Macedonia is already considered authoritarian regime in terms of national democratic governance (score 5) and freedom of media (5.25), while the judicial framework and independence as well as the corruption – that have a joint score of 4.75 – are very close to reaching such status.
But VMRO-DPMNE finds the Freedom House Country Report irrelevant. According to the party, it allegedly does not reflect the actual situation in the country, but is supported with false reports solicited by Soros. The same position was repeated by Nikoloski twice in the Top Theme on Your Side debate show:
I have to disagree that VMRO-DPMNE or the last government induced what’s stated in the report. It’s a fact that the report is highly partial, it’s a fact that the report has certain goals that has to meet and that’s why it’s written in such manner. In the past 25 years of its existence, VMRO-DPMNE has always had problems with nongovernmental organizations and the foundations funded by George Soros, regardless if it’s in power or not… (from 53:55 to 54:40 in the video)
Nevertheless, the supporters list published on Freedom House’s website does not include George Soros and the Open Society Foundation. Neither George Soros nor his Foundation appear on the list of individuals, foundations, companies and governments that have donated 100.000 USD or more from 1 July 2015 onward.
Freedom House is an American nongovernmental organization (NGO) founded in October 1941 and it focuses on the respect of democracy, political freedoms and human rights. Since 1972, Freedom House publishes annual reports (since 1978 in booklets) on the level of civil democratic freedoms and the rights in countries throughout the world, and it assesses them on the scale from 1 (highest level) to 7 (lowest level).
Nonetheless, this is not the first time the ruling party VMRO-DPMNE criticized Freedom House’s Country Reports and untruthfully asserted that it is funded by Soros. These are the reactions after each Report published by this organization in the past years.
- YouTube (05 April 2017): Top Theme on Your Side (05 April 2017)(54:40 to 55:12 in the video) [Accessed on 07 April 2017]
- Time.mk (16 November 2016): Николоски на амбасадорската функција во во мисијата на ЕУ во Брисел стапува по изборите [Accessed on 07 April 2017]
- Time.mk (04 April 2017): Извештај на Фридом хаус: Влошена оценката за демократското владеење во Македонија [Accessed on 07 April 2017]
- Мета (04 April 2017): „Фридом хаус“: Демократијата во Македонија на најниско ниво на Балканот [Accessed on 07 April 2017]
- Deutsche Welle (04 April 2017): Фридом Хаус: Македонија на чекор до авторитарен режим [Accessed on 07 April 2017]
- Freedom House: [Accessed on 07 April 2017]
- Wikipedia: Freedom House [Accessed on 06 April 2017]
- Нова ТВ (13 June 2014): ВМРО ДПМНЕ:Фридом Хаус е финансирана од СОРОС, затоа прави вакви извештаи [Accessed on 06 April 2017]
- Точка (12 April 2016): ВМРО-ДПМНЕ: Фридом Хаус е финансирана од СОРОС [Accessed on 06 April 2017]
Assessed by: Olivera Vojnovska