A deal was successfully brokered in Macedonia earlier this week, putting an end to a political crisis that had been going on for months. Prime minister Nikola Gruevski - who has been in power since 2003 - has been accused by the centre-left opposition of corruption and wiretapping politicians and journalists.
Macedonia will now hold elections next April and a special prosecutor will be appointed to investigate allegations of wrongdoing.
The talks were arranged by European neighbourhood policy and enlargement negotiations commissioner Johannes Hahn and facilitated by MEPs Eduard Kukan, Richard Howitt and Ivo Vajgl.
Hahn said, "the agreement reached by political leaders is in the interest of the country and its citizens [and] keeps the door open for the Euro-Atlantic perspective and boosts rule of law reforms."
Eduard Kukan told this website, "the political crises have been a challenge and opportunity for Macedonia. Lasting political instability damaged not only its image, but more importantly the trust of its citizens in established democratic institutions and political elites."
"Success of our facilitation was in restoring the political dialogue and committing the political leaders to give a chance to different political practices. However, the crisis is not over yet. Implementation of the agreement will be vital."
"Real progress can be made only if politicians in Macedonia are willing to restore the trust to democratic institutions, respect for rule of law and accountability to their citizens. This will take some time, but if successful, benefits for the country will be substantial", added the European People's Party deputy.
Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats Richard Howitt was "proud the parliament has joined the commission to facilitate the talks, but it is crucial that this new agreement now leads to permanent progress towards democratic development in the country."
"This agreement is a fair deal in the interest of the country and its citizens. But we expect the political leaders to fully implement this agreement, which will be followed closely by the international community."
He also believed that, "it is not an exaggeration to say that the timing of this agreement could pull the country back from the brink."
Ivo Vajgl, a member of parliament's Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, noted that, "the agreement reached in Skopje between the four main political parties is of key importance for Macedonia's EU perspective."
"The country will now have to implement the recommended reforms in order to finally start accession negotiations and further advance in its path towards full EU membership."
The Slovenian MEP pointed out that, "the agreement can also accelerate Macedonia's integration into Nato, as the improvement of the political climate within the country represents a significant contribution to the stability of the whole of south-eastern Europe."
Signatories of the deal, as well as civil society representatives, will meet in September at a high level accession dialogue to discuss progress made on the implementation of the agreement.