IBNA Op-Ed/Debates and euro skepticism in Skopje following “Brexit”

IBNA Op-Ed/Debates and euro skepticism in Skopje following “Brexit”

Skopje, 6 July 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Naser Pajaziti

After the British referendum which opted in favor of leaving the EU and the failure of the government in FYROM to deliver its promises in the euro integration aspect, a part of the media in Skopje is promoting euro skepticism.

This euro skepticism is also being manifested by political parties. The declaration issued by “United Russian” party of Vladimir Putin signed by the Serb Democratic Party in FYROM, that the Balkans and FYROM will be a neutral military zone, sparked debates and reactions in favor and against this incentive. PDS is a party which is part of the governing coalition and the opposition attacked the government of issuing signals for the international community, EU and USA, through its satellites.

A part of political analysts that promote and defend the government’s policies said that this declaration is not dangerous and that it secures stability in the Balkans.

But critics and the opposition say that this declaration harms the Euro Atlantic interests of the country. Another decision relates to the declaration of president George Ivanov that he will not participate in the NATO summit in Warsaw. Ivanov said that there’s no reason to go there, as the decision of the International Tribunal of Hague, which blamed Greece for blocking the accession of the country in the NATO due to the failure to solve the name contest, is not being respected.

These steps have been encouraged to evade responsibility for the long delays in the process of the integration of the country in Euro Atlantic structures.

But a new incentive has been recently launched for the holding of a referendum through which citizens of FYROM should decide if the country should become an EU member or not. This project was launched by People’s Movement (DOM), a small party which so far has been part of the governing coalition with VMRO-DPMNE of Nikola Gruevski. But, the domestic opinion is measured through the polls carried out by the International Republican Institute. In the recent poll of this institute in the month of April, 71% of respondents backed FYROM’s accession in the EU, while 23% were against. 6 years ago, in the 2008 polls, 96% of the citizens were in favor of EU accession. Similar data also apply for NATO’s integration.

The progress report is expected to be issued in fall and this report is decisive for the integration in the EU, as the progress of the country as far as integration is concerned, is conditioned with political progress and the solution of the political crisis.

Brussels indirectly warns that the country is risking the opening of accession talks. But domestic political developments are not issuing positive signals that the country may solve the political crisis.

Integration will depend on the Warsaw Summit, which is expected to come out with recommendations for Skopje as far as NATP accession is concerned and this directly depends on the solution of the name contest with Greece.

This week, senior EU and Washington officials are expected to arrive to Skopje to launch new efforts for the solution of the political crisis.

Special German envoy, Johannes Haindl will try to unblock the status quo in the next two weeks and he will be followed by the US assistant vice secretary, Victoria Nuland. These visits are considered as a decisive effort to solve the country, otherwise the country may head toward an impasse. /balkaneu.com/

* The opinion of the author doesn’t necessarily represent IBNA’s editorial line