Exclusive interview with the known analyst and publicist in Skopje, Aleksandar Damovski
Analyst and vice editor in chief of “Nova Makedonija” newspaper in Skopje, Aleksandar Damovski talks during this interview about the current developments and problems in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, about the delays in the solution of the name dispute, the blockade of the integration process of the country in the Euro Atlantic structures, the reality of inter-ethnic relations and other problems which must be solved in order to overcome all the worrying situations that the country is going through.
Interviewed by Naser Pajaziti
Our country is still facing a blockade in its path toward Euro Atlantic integrations, as a result of the failure to resolve the name dispute with Greece. Do you think that this issue will be solved in the near future?
Damovski: Greece is the main problem and this is the country that generated the name dispute. This is the country where the solution must be sought. The latest declarations of the Greek president, Papulias show that a solution is not possible. Papulias recommends to us to give up on macedonism. This means that we must give up the name and with this, we give up our identity, language and culture. Tell me one normal person in this planet who would voluntarily give up on these. For as long that Greece doesn’t withdraw from its century long state strategy to obliterate everything which is Macedonian in their territory, there will not be a solution. Now they want to expand their objectives outside their borders.
How far is the country going to go with this status quo and with the constant postponement of the solution of key issues that relate to Euro Atlantic integrations?
Damovski: You know very well that for tens of years we are told that we will be destroyed as a state, that we won’t survive this way and that without the EU and NATO there won’t be a future. But look where we are at the present. We’re here, we live, we survive and nobody has put us anywhere, although there are people that want such thing. The myth which has been born according to which the country will be destroyed without NATO or EU, is no longer valid. The world is guided by serious debates as to whether NATO and EU must first be transformed and then dissolved.
The EU Summit which will be held at the end of this month will be a challenge for the country. What are your expectations from this Summit, as the country is expected to be issued the date for the start of negotiations for accession?
Damovski: We cannot hope for something positive. It’s clear that this is a political decision and not pre determined standards and rules that must be fulfilled. Nonetheless, in spite of the decision, we must continue to work in this aspect in order to meet those standards. We must do this for ourselves and not for the accession. When someone doesn’t want you in his company, why should we insist?
How do you consider inter-ethnic relations in the country, which are not very positive due to the incidents taken place in the past few months?
Damovski: This relates to what I said earlier, that we must work in order to meet those standards and rules that are in our hands. We must all start and feel like citizens of this country, with all the rights and obligations toward the state. This is the only way to overcome all past problems in the ethnic aspect.
A discussion has recently taken place over the need to launch a debate about the proposals for the name dispute, especially after the recent visit of the US vice Secretary of State, Philip Reeker. According to you, what will be an acceptable formula for the name which would bring wide consensus?
Damovski: Greece raised this problem and this problem must find solution in this country. If they want to call us Skopje, let them. But only Greece may call us like this. This is the only solution. I believe that this problem must have a bilateral solution with our southern neighbor and nothing more. Everything that is happening in FYROM, by obliging us to accept Greek ultimatums, is insanity which is being orchestrated by the international community in general.
Interviewed by Naser Pajaziti
Who is Damovski
Aleksandar Damovski is a political analyst from Skopje and has been the co-founder of the first independent newspaper ”Dnevnik” in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in 1996. He has been part of this newspaper for a long time, after which the newspaper was sold to the German company WAZ. Damovski has also been editor in chief of “Vreme” newspaper and is an analyst in several media of the country. Recently, Damovsky has been appointed as vice editor in chief of the daily “Nova Makedonija” and is the founder of the informative portal MKD.