IBNA/Op-Ed: Why the dilemma: Kosovo or Serbia?

IBNA/Op-Ed: Why the dilemma: Kosovo or Serbia?

By Shkelzen Halimi


Why must FYROM encounter difficulties in front of the dilemma: Kosovo or Serbia, at a time when everyone knows that Kosovo is an independent country, which means that it also has an independent foreign policy? Before raising this dilemma, there’s another one in which one must seek the truth of this issue. FYR Macedonia has been influenced by the Yugoslav past and this imposes many dilemmas, which cause more bewilderment than offer solutions.

But given the fact that FYROM has recognized the state of Kosovo, everything else seems to be a problem of Serbia, of Serbs and it has no reason to be reflected in FYROM. Why should we worry if Serbia doesn’t participate in the incentives of FYROM as a result of the presence of the representatives of Kosovo, especially when the two countries sit and talk without any problems, such as it’s the case of the talks in Brussels? This must help the foreign policy of FYROM to have a pragmatic approach toward the neighbors and not to have foreign policies which are directly reflected in the internal relations of Skopje.

Above others, the focus should turn toward the economic interest and the geo-strategic and infrastructural position of the neighbors. The surveys carried out to offer a picture may serve for foreign policies. Amongst these surveys is the one from the Macedonian institute, according to which Macedonians in large percentage consider Albania and Kosovo as enemies. Nonetheless this is a result of the behavior, sometimes odd ones, of the high representatives of the state due to the unnecessary tactics in the internal policies (with Albanians) and the foreign ones (with Kosovo and Serbia).

For many reasons, FYROM must be careful with Albania and Kosovo, in particular with the latter, because according to the latest data of the State Authority of Statistics, Kosovo is very important to the economy of FYROM. Then we have the Albanian element, one of the most important factors for the internal stability of FYROM and for the stability of the Balkan. It’s not a coincidence that international institutions are constantly insisting for the relations between Kosovo and Serbia to normalize as soon as possible and this must not be ignored.

Meanwhile, as far as the sympathy of Macedonians toward Serbia in culture, sport and other domains is concerned, this is something which state institutions should deal with, because they are the main factors that cause confusion about the Macedonian identity, a key segment of the Macedonian society. Meanwhile, in regards to the Albanians (including Kosovo and Albania), everything is clear and this identity is not at all threatened. Therefore, whoever wants to put forward the dilemma: Kosovo or Serbia, doesn’t perform a good deed, because FYROM is also surrounded by Greece and Bulgaria, which look forward for FYROM to open another front of agreements to justify their anti-Macedonian positioning.


*The author is an analyst and a publicist from Skopje. He’s the current editor in chief of the daily “Koha” newspaper. He’s known as one of the founders of the Albanian independent journalism in FYR Macedonia after the fall communism. He was graduated in Albanian Language and Literature at the Faculty of Languages in Skopje. He has published several literary works, opinions and translations of foreign literature.