IBNA Interview/The process of integration of the country in the European Union and the name dispute between Skopje and Athens has remained in a stalemate and prime minister Gruevski and the political leader of Albanians, Ahmeti are to be blamed for this.
This is the opinion of Zoran Ivanov, political analyst and program director in the national TV independent network “24 Vesti” based in Skopje.
A journalist with a long experience in the media, Mr. Ivanov believes that while all the Balkan countries are becoming more European, the opposite is taking place with this country which according to him is being Balkanized.
In the interview below for Independent Balkan News Agency, Mr. Ivanov talks about the inter ethnic problems which still exist between Macedonians and Albanians.
Interviewed by: Naser Pajaziti
IBNA: How do you consider the political situation in the country in the aspect of European integration, bearing in mind the fact that the European Commission has made the same proposal in its progress report and the fact that the name dispute continues to be unresolved?
Ivanov: I believe that we have a situation which is not changing, but also a movement backwards. Given that all neighboring countries such as Albania, Serbia and Kosovo are becoming more European, we are “Balkanizing” more and more. We are a country under a voluntary and conscious occupation by the current power, almost in all domains, such as in society, judicial system, relations with religions, political life, media, culture, etc.
IBNA: We are going through a domestic political crisis, which is seen as a sign for early elections. Do you thing that there will be early parliamentary elections, when we know that we will have presidential elections in 2014?
Ivanov: The two main political parties of the governing coalition VMRO-DPMNE and BDI, are promoting the strategy “we don’t have a solution to the problems, we have not met the expectations of the international community, therefore we will go to elections”. This way, they amnesty themselves from any kind of responsibility for not fulfilling their promises. On the other hand, Gruevski’s party and Ahmeti’s party offer the message that the failure to meet their obligations is an offer to the citizens.
IBNA: In the inter-ethnic aspect, we still don’t have a harsh political battle. There are also several sporadic incidents, especially in Skopje. What is your stance on these negative developments?
Ivanov: In this aspect, I can say once again that the parties in power, VMRO-DPMNE and BDI diverted from the European concept and the spirit of the Ohrid Agreement. Under these circumstances, our country was divided into two spheres with different influences in the ethnic, religious, national economic, educational and cultural aspect. And this non European concept not only distanced us from European standards, but it imposed a Byzantine Balkanization, which has had an effect on the young people, which are being beaten in buses and school courtyards on “ethnic” basis. They don’t know why this violence is taking place. Political elites are not thinking of the consequences that this may have in the future. With this climate, it’s impossible to be integrated in the Balkan, let alone Europe. We have remained isolated, secluded in personal selfishness. I believe that in these circumstances it’s necessary to have a new political, social and cosmopolite philosophy, which must show the values of the quality and not tribal, religious or nationalist values.
IBNA: Let us move to another very delicate argument. Do you believe that a solution can be found to the name dispute if the Macedonian side shows more flexibility than the Greek side? What are your expectations? Are you optimistic that a solution will come?
Ivanov: No, no. No ideological changes are expected by these patriotic type policies of the influential politician, Nikola Gruevski, by the narrow mindedness of president George Ivanov, by the close nationalist interests of Ali Ahmeti and the internal structures of his supporters, etc. The political scene in Scopje entirely solidified and it’s not able to offer any changes in ideology. Ahmeti is trying to do something abroad, but these efforts are not honest and selfish. They are being done within his party and ethnic agenda, and not for the interests of the country. The differences in Gruevski’s and Ahmeti’s behavior about the name dispute are complicating the possibility for a compromise more and more. They are taking the country toward isolation and toward an unclear future. Therefore, there’s an impression that several people inside the country desire this situation. /ibna/