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Successful completion of the Twinning project to strengthen the Ombudsman office and its regional offices in Macedonia

On 2 February 2016, the closing ceremony of the Twinning Light project to strengthen the Office of the Ombudsman and its regional offices took place at the EU Infocentre in Skopje. The event was organized by the Office of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Macedonia in cooperation with the Austrian Ombudsman Board and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights.Among the speakers were Ixhet Memeti (Ombudsman and Project Leader, Macedonia), Dr. Gertrude Brinek (Ombudswoman and Project Leader, Austria), Aivo Orav (Head of Delegation of the EU to the FYR of Macedonia), Renate Kobler (Austrian Ambassador to Macedonia) and Dr. Peter Kastner (Senior Expert of the Austrian Ombudsman Board).

Ombudsman Memeti thanked all partners for the good cooperation within the project and identified the daily challenges that his office is facing in protecting human rights. Ombudswoman Brinek supported the Ombudsman in his demand that the Office needs adequate and sufficient financial and human resources to enable its independence and efficiency, thus creating one of the conditions for Macedonia’s accession to the EU. Both Project Leaders were pleased with the implementation and the results of the project and declared their intention to continue the cooperation between the two institutions bilaterally.

Ambassador Orav stressed that the respect for human dignity and rights remains the basis for peace and prosperity, and that Ombudspersons play a significant role by empowering the people to address maladministration in a country. Ambassador Kobler stated that Austria remains a dedicated supporter of Macedonia's EU accession process and considered the great public interest in the events which took place in the course of the project as an indicator for the importance of close cooperation of public authorities with civil society. Dr. Kastner concluded the speeches with a summary of the project activities and by thanking the Macedonian colleagues in Skopje and in the regional offices, as the successful implementation would not have been possible without them.

The event was held in Macedonian and English with simultaneous interpretation into Albanian. Please find the event program attached.

Further information about the project can be found here.