Macedonian political party hires New Partners for refugee crisis messaging help

The firm, which has worked with the NFL and Obama for America, was hired to highlight Macedonia's role in the migrant crisis.

Skopje, the capital of Macedonia (Image via Wikimedia Commons).
Skopje, the capital of Macedonia (Image via Wikimedia Commons).

WASHINGTON: A Macedonian political party has brought on New Partners Consulting for messaging assistance in the US.

VMRO – the Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity has hired the firm, according to documents filed with the Justice Department.

The agency, which has worked with clients such as the National Football League, Obama for America, and the Oscars, will provide services including western media outreach. Its duties could also include "drafting talking points, statements, and other opinion articles for dissemination," according to the documents.

The firm’s remit also includes "publicizing Macedonia’s, and in particular Prime Minister [Nikola] Gruevski’s role in the epicenter of the refugee crisis and the need for increased cooperation and resources from other NGOs and international partners," according to documents.

The firm’s start date was December 1; the account has a $54,000-per-month bill, according to the documents.

An agency representative was not immediately available for comment.

Macedonia has been at the forefront of Europe’s struggles to deal with the influx of migrants from Syrian flooding into the continent. Some refugees clashed with police officers as Macedonian authorities began building a fence in late November to keep them out of the country. Macedonia later reopened its border with Greece in early December.

According to the Associated Press, Macedonia is receiving help from some Czech police officers in an effort to "cope with the influx of migrants." In November, CNN reported some refugees sewed their lips together in protest, "effectively going on a hunger strike," as a demonstration against countries including Macedonia, Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia, where entrance was allowed "only to those fleeing conflict."

Earlier this year, Gruevski agreed to resign in January 2016 after a long-running wiretapping scandal, following demonstrations by thousands of people in the country’s capital of Skopje calling for him to step down.

Gruevski said he is open to changing the name of the country, which declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, due to a longtime dispute with Greece.

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