Tension rises between Germany and Macedonia over refugee crisis | News | DW | 11.03.2016
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Tension rises between Germany and Macedonia over refugee crisis

Macedonia has said it is sticking to a controversial interview it gave to the German media blasting Berlin's refugee policy. The German Chancellery rejected President Gjorge Ivanov's harsh criticism.

A representative of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia reiterated on Friday comments made by President Gjorge Ivanov to the German media.

Ivanov "is firmly sticking to his views expressed in an interview with the German newspaper 'Bild' that the state institutions of the Republic of Macedonia have not received any funding from the European Union to deal with the refugee crisis, and that the EU aid budget for the Republic of Macedonia is 0 euros," the Cabinet of the Macedonian President said in a statement to DW.

The reaction followed a response by the German government earlier on Friday rebutting the claims Ivanov made to "Bild," such as the accusation that Berlin hadn't given Macedonia "one cent" in connection with the refugee crisis.

Calls for clarification

The Chancellery on Friday claimed otherwise, saying it had made 52 million euros ($58 million) available to Skopje, and insisted it was baffled by the president's harsh criticism.

In the rejoinder given to DW, Macedonia said it was "calling on the German government to specify clearly and precisely to whom, when and for what purpose were the aforementioned 52 million euros given."

In his interview with "Bild," Ivanov acknowledged that Germany "had acted with humanity" in accepting so many refugees but said the country, along with Brussels, had failed to manage the crisis sufficiently. He also knocked Berlin for dismissing security threats connected to the crisis, claiming that both Berlin and Brussels had ignored Skopje's offer to provide information about Islamist militants entering Europe through the Balkan route.

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