The name dispute dominates political debates in Skopje

The name dispute dominates political debates in Skopje

IBNA Special Report

Skopje, June 3, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Naser Pajaziti

The name dispute with Greece continues to dominate daily politics in Skopje. Political parties offer their contradicting opinions, whereby one side is optimistic for a solution and the other one is pessimistic.

These differences mainly exist between the two largest party of the coalition, VMRO-DPMNE and BDI (Democratic Party for Integration).

BDI says that it’s still optimistic that the name dispute can be solved in the summer summit, while VMRO-DPMNE of Nikola Gruevski claim the opposition. They believe that no solution is expected.

Contradictions between coalition partners

The newly elected VMRO-DPMNE lawmaker and former minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Milososki underlines the fact that there are only three months remaining until the NATO summit in Cardiff. Therefore, he says that there’s very little time to resolve the dispute.

“We have disagreements with BDI as far as the final solution is concerned. We believe that the final decision must come through a referendum. For BDI, it’s more important to come to a solution as soon as possible rather than what sort of solution it will be and how it will preserve the Macedonian identity”, says Milososki.

Spokesman of BDI, Bujar Osmani, considers the declaration of the former Foreign minister Milososki that the solution cannot be achieved in the NATO summit as hypothetical.

According to him, the current period after the elections is ideal for the international factor to sit the sides on the table of negotiations.

“We’re optimistic that this period, that we consider to be ideal, must be used in order for the sides to sit down and find a solution. This will help us to receive an invitation for accession in the NATO summit”, says Osmani. He adds that: “The international factor must play an important role in finding a joint compromise”.

Analysts: The two coalition parties play a political game

Experts of international relations consider the declarations of the two parties in power, VMRO and BDI as political games. They say that neither Skopje, nor Athens are showing any will to overcome the name dispute.

“These declarations are addressed to voters of each party. VMRO says that there’s pressure from BDI, in order to protect the right of the Macedonian ethnicity; meanwhile BDI says that it doesn’t agree with VMRO stances, in order to show that it’s protecting the rights of Albanians. But this is only a game which aims to keep the public opinion anxious. At the same time, VMRO and BDI can secure the support of their voters based  on their nationalist rhetoric”, says analyst Zdravko Saveski.

University professor, Bekim Kadriu told IBNA that the Macedonian side is not ready to find an imminent solution to the name dispute.

“Macedonian party, VMRO, is not showing any readiness to solve the name dispute with Greece. It always refers to the ruling of the International Court of Justice, by saying that the identity must not be threatened. On the other hand, BDI shows a greater interest for the solution of the name dispute. But, we must know that consensus between political parties is needed for the solution of the name dispute”, says Bekim Kadriu.

International factor has made it clear that without the solution of the name dispute, the country cannot become a NATO member and it cannot move forward in the EU integration process. /ibna/