The official VMRO-DPMNE four, led by President Hristijan Mickoski, will receive an unexpected escort at the European People’s Party (EPP) congress in Helsinki, where a candidate for president of the European Commission is to be elected. The EPP’ President Joseph Daul, sent a personal invitation to the reforming wing, led by Kostadin Bogdanov and Petar Bogojeski, as well as the dismissed party vice-president Mitko Jancev. The goal, according to the information, is to get a clearer picture what exactly is happening in the main opposition party in the country, which has been under harsh criticism coming from its international partners over recent months because of the party’s failure to accept the Prespa agreement, that is, hindering of the European integration flows of Macedonia. With this move, Daul in a way formalizes the reform wing in the party, including the excluded party members, which is a direct message to Mickoski. It is also planned for Daul to have a personal meeting with the excluded Petar Bogojeski.
Nezavisen Vesnik/Independent Newspaper contacted all three, but none of them wanted to confirm or deny that they would travel to Helsinki. However, we learn that Bogdanov, who was dismissed by the executive committee, rejected the invitation, Bogojeski, who was excluded from membership and from the position of deputy general secretary, accepted the invitation, while the mayor of Kavadarci would decide at the last moment whether he will travel to Finland’s capital.
Mickoski: I’m as anti-Western as much as Zaev is honest
Mickoski, Vice President Aleksandar Nikoloski, Secretary of International Politics – Vlatko Gjorcev and International Policy Adviser – Timco Mucunski on Tuesday traveled to the three-day gathering of European right-wingers, which will end on Thursday with the election of candidate for the head of EC. Mickoski is scheduled to participate in the EPP Leaders’ Summit, which includes prime ministers and heads of opposition, where he will hold working meetings and meetings with his colleagues.
“The delegation of VMRO DPMNE will inform its partners about the current economic and political situation in Macedonia and the drastic decline in all fields, including the reform process. The emphasis will be placed on the abuse of institutions for political persecution, which puts pressure on those who think differently from the international and criminal authorities,” VMRO-DPMNE said.
VMRO-DPMNE President Mickoski claims that the anathema that SDSM threw against him because he was anti-Western was as accurate as Prime Minister Zoran Zaev was honest and uncorrupted. He also rejected the accusations of his former party members who left VMRO-DPMNE with the explanation that they did not want to be part of an isolated group. Recalling that the new leadership of the party was the one that returned to parliament and took an active part in the reform process, for starting the negotiations with the EU, and that some of the laws were drafted by VMRO-DPMNE. When it comes to the agreement, Mickoski reiterated once again that he would never accept it.
However, in VMRO-DPMNE, at least for a brief moment, the famous rhetoric that if they were in power and the Prespa agreement would fail, and that they would have succeeded in reaching a better agreement than the one signed by Nikola Dimitrov and Nikos Kotzias, was turned down. In fact, even from the EPP itself, VMRO-DPMNE was under strong pressure to answer how it planned to do this if one takes into account that in case of a possible change of Alexis Tsipras, the Greek government would be headed by Kiryakos Mitsotakis or Panos Kammenos, who have a problem accepting anything that contains the adjective Macedonian.
Weber ahead of Stubb
The VMRO four has the right to vote in the vice-presidential election, but today it will be decided whether the candidate countries for EU membership will be able to vote for a candidate for president of the European Commission ahead of the elections in this spring. If they are allowed, the four votes from the Macedonian right-wing will end up with Manfred Weber, 46, from Germany, who among the 758 deputies of the strongest European party is the favorite in comparison to Alexander Stubb (50) from Finland. Webber is a conservative member of the CSU led by Angela Merkel, while Stubb is a member of the EPP liberal wing.
“Of course, my chances are equal to those when Finland would play a football match against Germany,” Stubb admitted.
According to estimates, the candidate of the European People’s Party is very likely to become the new president of the European Commission. The concept of a leading or leading candidate, known under the German term “Spitzenkandidat” was first used in 2014 when Jean-Claude Juncker was elected president.
According to this model, European political parties should point out their favorites to the presidency of the EC, and the European Council is obliged to propose the candidate who can get the majority in the European Parliament. The European elections, which are to be held from 23 to 26 May next year, will elect a new President of the European Council, European Parliament, High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, President of the European Central Bank etc. Thereby, they are cautious that the key people do not only come from one part of Europe, but also that they do not appoint only men to the posts.
Orbán as the center of attention
Delegates to the EPP congress on Thursday will elect one of the two candidates with a secret ballot. Before that, on Wednesday night, they will be able to directly watch the direct duel between Manfred Weber and Alexander Stubb. One of the topics expected to dominate the debate is the issue of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his party Fidesz. They are constantly on the brink of criticism over populism and deviation from European democratic values. The EPP has announced that the Congress will pass a resolution defending European values and protecting democracy in response to Orban.
Stubb is a very harsh critic and it wouldn’t be uncommon if he asked for Fidesz’s exclusion from the EPP, while Weber is more cautious and opposes the expulsion, although in the European Parliament voted against activating the procedure provided for in Article 7 against Hungary, which theoretically can deprive Hungary of the right to vote in the EU Council./IBNA