Happy and disappointed North Macedonia

Happy and disappointed North Macedonia

Erol Rizaov


Half of North Macedonia is happy and celebrating that there is no date for negotiations with the EU, and the other half is disappointed and furious that old Europe has postponed the decision in three to four months. I do not know if these halves are equal halves, but it is evident that everyone in the country, if one judges by what they publicly say, are firmly determined to join the EU and NATO. For the first time after nearly 30 years of independence and Euro-Atlantic aspirations and the 15 years of falling the test by the eternal European candidate, finally Brussels is to blame for postponing the negotiations, in their own accord. So far, the blame was found in our own politicians, their wrong policies, mainly due to the captured state and a decade-long regime, failed reforms and unsolved domestic tasks, bad relations with neighbors, organized crime and corruption.

The partisan state will remain divided along all the stages in the battles for taking over power in the next four months, both ideologically and politically, as well as ethnically, although verbally they are all “in favor” of Europe. Obviously, someone is lying a lot. If it is not so, the next few months will pass in an ambience of a moratorium on the quarrels, and in strong preparations to start negotiations with the EU by the end of the year. This certainly will not happen, because the turbulent reactions after the postponement of the EU decision on North Macedonia and Albania clearly show in which direction the country’s destabilization will take place. So, the postponement of the date for negotiations with the EU for October, so they could begin at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year, is not the problem, but rather that the fragile stability of the country in these few months can be severely disrupted. That is the fear and disappointment of this “technical” postponement of the negotiations with North Macedonia.

Our zealous analysts miss out on a very important thing in their investigations into the reasons why EU founders are postponing the decision in a short time, although they all have praiseworthy words about Macedonia and its great performance in the past two years on the road to Europe. And that is the fact that Western Europe should prepare its public for the scarecrow called “Western Balkans” that will become an equal member of the European family in the near future. It is not at all an easy and simple thing that can be covered only by a hasty crafty political decision. The idea of ordinary citizens of Western European countries for the Balkans isalmost the same as it is for immigrants from Asia and Africa, and in some segments even worse. The legacy that has been left since the beginning of the last century by mutual compromises and murders of Macedonian activists and revolutionaries in the theaters and streets of Vienna, Rome, Marseilles, Sarajevo, Sofia, Thessaloniki, etc. are still in the historical books and in the consciousness of many Europeans.

The legacy that has been left since the beginning of the last century by mutual compromises and murders of Macedonian activists and revolutionaries in the theaters and streets of Vienna, Rome, Marseille, Sarajevo, Sofia, Thessaloniki… are still in the historical books and in the consciousness of many Europeans.
The image of the West for this part of the Balkans, created in the past decades of the twentieth century is not much better, even compared to the era of declaring independence and the fall of communism. I see the praise for North Macedonia by European politicians and the criticism against them about the indecision of the most influential European and world media outlets, top intellectuals, diplomats and public figures, in creating an ambience in the European public that Macedonia is no longer what is laid down for centuries in the consciousness of the Europeans. Unfortunately, neither Europe nor Macedonia have worked hard enough, the most commonly misleading idea for our country, and for the entire Balkans, to improve, regardless of the fact that some countries have become members with hasty political decisions. On the contrary, the citizens of Europe, the Balkans and North Macedonia got more bad news than good news.

The 2001 military conflict, the installation of Nikola Gruevski’s regime, the suspension of the institutions of the system for quite a long period of time, the two bloody intrusions in the Parliament, the controlling and censorship of the media, the booming of crime and corruption, the political intervention in science in search of a more glorious ancient past, of someone else’s history, the new fake belated baroque, for which billions of denars belonging to the poorest people on the continent were spent, were received with astonishment not only in Europe. The attempts at political revision of history, on which the European culture and the entire educational system has been built, are numbered in the world’s greatest fools. It is impossible to compensate for two years that has been destroyed for decades and centuries.

Europe’s decision to have a decision to start negotiations with Macedonia next fall, however disappointing, is understandable if viewed from the point of view of the cautiousness of European politicians how it will be received by the wider public without the necessary ambient preparations. Watching from that angle, I am optimistic and I am convinced that North Macedonia will start negotiations with the EU by the end of the year. What we need to fear much more ,and what is really disappointing, is the fact that it will happen in the country until October, and then afterwards. That is why a broad party consensus is necessary, or as they like to call it general consensus, for stopping all obstacles which could serve as a trump card by Brussels for further postponements. It sounds Utopian and impossible, but there is not much else to do. Europe is not ready for such remnants. A strong irrefutable argument for opponents to start negotiations with the EU would be the fact that there is not enough political or institutional readiness to deal with organized crime and corruption at the top of the authorities and centers of power both current and former. What kind of remark, disagreement and disappointment we could voice on the fact that the work of the SPO and the regular public prosecutor’s offices are being obstructed, as well as of courts when it comes to proven crimes and not serving prison sentences. The impunity for serious crimes and robberies and the uninterrupted disposal of vast wealth acquired illegally cannot be justified by a coffee shop, let alone the European commission. It is enough to hinder the work of the Parliament with the opposition MPs leaving their seats and this is sufficient proof of the justification of the restraint of the opponents of the Europeanization of Macedonia.

One of the perhaps most difficult issues will be the implementation of the Treaty of good neighborly relations with Bulgaria, that is, the work of the Commission for the reassessment of historical events and personalities. For this treaty, as well as for the Prespa Agreement, it will be necessary to apply the principle of its sustainability and mutual acceptance. Whatever they sign, if it is under one-sided dictation and pressure, it will be inapplicable in practice. History cannot be written by committees, nor can they re-evaluate how professional they are. It must make science in a completely different setting. Attempts to enter the minds of historical figures who lived and worked a hundred years ago, and to determine their identity according to the needs of current politicians and politicians, is an absurd and cannot be declared as regulation for all eternity. Scientific research does not stop with the signatures of the committee members and the decisions of governments. They can only be a good signpost for future impartial scientists to do their job. The overcoming of hatred and the reparation of the devastation of the citizens of the entire Balkans that has been going on for decades and was imposed by politics in conjunction with ideology historians, re-writing the good and the bad is a whole other thing that should be done by some other people.
North Macedonia is still on the same crossroads – it will either stay in the Balkans or go to Europe. If Europe rejects it, the country will still get there through some other, and already well-known, roads that are not very pleasant. Neither for Europe, not our country.

Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik