Ethnic protests and tensions are jeopardizing Euro-Atlantic integration

Ethnic protests and tensions are jeopardizing Euro-Atlantic integration

IBNA Special Report

Skopje, July 14, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Naser Pajaziti

The cross ethnic recent protests and political tension in FYR Macedonia are also jeopardizing the process of the integration of the country in the NATO and EU.

This warning also comes from the international community, which has pushed sides to remain calm and restore dialogue in order to overcome problems in the country and not to jeopardize the process of Euro-Atlantic integration.

Within a two week period, the European Union (EU), USA, NATO and OSCE have expressed their concern about the political developments in the country and have called for calm and for acts of violence to be avoided.

“We call on the citizens and leaders of the state to join in the spirit of constructive talks and address issues that mine mutual understanding, cross ethnic relations and process of Euro Atlantic integration”, reads the joint press statement of the international institutions present in Skopje.

Western diplomats such as US ambassador Paul Wholers and the EU ambassador, Aivo Orav have intensified meetings with political leaders in the country in order to lower tensions.

Analysts say that in spite of the fact that cross ethnic relations are not a formal criteria for the accession of the country in the international institutions, they are a basis for the stability of the country.

Former ambassador of FYROM in the NATO, Nano Ruzhi told IBNA that the recent events will not only have a negative impact, but they’re also expected to trigger concrete provocations from the EU and NATO in Brussels if institutions do not make efforts to reduce lower tensions.

“Cross ethnic relations are the most important criteria for the stability of the state. This was also the aim of the drafting of the Ohrid Agreement. Therefore, these events will have a negative impact in the eyes of Brussels and they will certainly be mentioned. Everything will depend on how long tensions will continue and whether they will continue in Autumn or not”, declared Ruzhin.

Analyst and head of the Association for Democratic Initiatives (ADI) organization, Albet Musliu says that if the protests continue, the European Union and NATO can review their positioning on FYR Macedonia. According to him, Euro-Atlantic organizations may review the recommendation for the launch of talks with the EU and the appeal for accession in the NATO after the solution of the deadlock relating to the name.

“If cross ethnic relations continue or intensify, international institutions, where we want to adhere such as NATO and EU, may review their positioning in the progress report or the NATO Summit which will be held in Britain. Therefore, if we do not show a serious approach in order to reduce tensions and tackle issues which are part of the debate, international partners will articulate their criticism”, declared Albert Musliu.

Experts of political developments in the country say that the situation in the country has become even more complicated with the boycott of institutions by the opposition which doesn’t recognize the elections.

“After the political crisis caused by the opposition which doesn’t recognize elections and is not part of the institutions, the country doesn’t need another crisis relating to cross ethnic problems. If in the months to come we don’t have positive developments  on these topics, besides the name dispute issue, Macedonia may also encounter other obstacle in the European integration  process”, says Musliu.

In his recent appearances, prime minister Nikola Gruevski has said that dangerous segments have their scenarios and agendas to destabilize the country, but according to him, this will not be allowed.

“These people do not work in the best interest of Macedonia, neither do their work in the best interest of Albanians, Turks, Roma community and the rest of the community… They want to push forward their agenda or the agenda of foreign elements”, said Gruevski. The prime minister had accused the opposition that it’s jeopardizing the integration process of the country with its boycott.

But, the leader of the largest opposition party LSDM (Macedonian Social Democratic league), Zoran Zaev has appealed for calm and dialogue in order to overcome the problems and the crisis in the country.

“Violence is not a solution for anything. Such situation only distances Macedonia to European and world values and our joint objectives for the Euro Atlantic perspective”, has noted the opposition leader.

The same opinion has also been shared by other parties, especially Albanian parties, which have called for quiet and democratic protests, avoiding violence and incidents.

The citizens are worried about these developments and they want institutions to be transparent with them by taking measures for every problem, in order to avoid violence and cross ethnic tensions. “Political parties must sit down as soon as possible and draft an agenda of priorities in order to tackle the most sensitive issues that are leading the country to a deep cross ethnic and political crisis. I believe that this is the only path that can rescue the country. I believe that there must also be discussions on the causes of the protests of Albanians and the boycott of Macedonian opposition”, says citizen Milaim Zulfiu for IBNA.

In spite of these messages, the country continues to face protests and the boycott of Macedonian opposition. Albanians have once again warned protests this Friday, while the opposition insists on its request for the formation of a technical government which would hold fresh elections in the country. /ibna/