Let’s not sell Byzantine games to the Greeks

Let’s not sell Byzantine games to the Greeks

Erol Rizaov

It seems like the new and old constitutionalists and constitution defenders are stepping out of line. The impression is that people have forgotten that it is a matter of several constitutional amendments that are part of a compromise strictly determined by the Prespa Agreement between Macedonia and Greece. The four amendments with concessions, in exchange for the European future of Macedonia, have turned not only into writing a new constitution, but also in revising the Constitution with a public bidding for constitutional changes that causes concern that the whole thing can fail and Macedonia and Greece will go back to where they were, as an incident of history.

In that case, Macedonia would go back to nothing, with great uncertainty about whether it can retain the same positions of a candidate country for the EU. It will remain FYROM, an isolated Balkan poor country, and as the greatest loser and culprit before common sense at home and in the world because it missed this historic opportunity, making crucial mistakes in a given position. Greece will remain where it always was, in the EU and NATO, among the 30 countries in the world with the highest quality of living, and with a positive assessment that it showed good will and courage to accept remnants for good neighborly relations. The EU and the world will express a five-minute regret by assessing that everything that was reasonable with the Prespa Agreement has been destroyed by constitutional changes contrary to an agreement signed between the two governments. The happiest will of course be the opponents of Macedonia’s membership in NATO and the EU, both in Macedonia and Greece.

These are the smallest consequences of the rise of the new constitutionalists to patch, repair and correct the Constitution as if they were preparing a constitutional assembly of a new ASNOM. The biggest damage is the destabilization of the country and its disintegration, which becomes a real option if the constitutional changes are not adopted and NATO and EU membership is not achieved.

Instead of focusing all their attention on the essence of the Prespa Agreement and its implementation in the Constitution with the necessary, already agreed amendments, they are discussing it as if it is about writing a new Constitution in three volumes. If some think that with tricks and arrogance they will dupe the Greeks and the EU, then they have no idea who they are dealing with. There are no naive players in this thing that has been studied and analyzed by top experts from the first to the last letter, to every single full stop and comma. Let’s not sell Byzantine games to Athens and Brussels because they are the ones who invented them.

For us, the most important thing is that the compromise we have agreed upon is acceptable, does not contest the basic identity features of the Macedonian people and language, and it should remain at that. It is the winning position for the future of Macedonia as a European country. Thus the state will survive and with each success will strengthen its uniqueness, its language and culture. One Nobel Prize, one Olympic gold medal, one participation, or a trophy in the World Championship, or European championship means more for the identity and language, than one hundred Prespa agreements.

As for the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, it has long been ready for complete repairs. But this must be done in a completely different setting, in a much better atmosphere. The weaknesses of the Constitution and the loopholes for diametrically contrary interpretations of the constitutional provisions inflicted great harm on the Macedonian parliamentary practice. The latest current events in the country also speak of constitutional abuses, especially about the powers of the president of the country where there is a lot of room for abuses. In the constitutional competences of the Parliament, the government, the prime minister, the ministries and ministers, in the regulation of the local self-government, the budget, the state funds and a whole bunch of other constitutional inconsistencies and inaccuracies, create big misunderstandings and conflict situations that need to be precisely defined to a degree so there would be no room for different interpretations even by the constitutional experts. Particularly loose are the constitutional inconsistencies transposed in the legislation regarding obstruction of the rule of law and stopping the democratic processes, as well as obstruction of the strategic interests and priorities of the state for which there is general consensus and which are included in all development documents of Macedonia, and are the foundation of the social and political order of the state. These are the Euro-Atlantic integrations of Macedonia. This determination should be a constitutional category. Substantial constitutional changes are about more stable and peaceful times. It is now a matter of amendments arising from a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ compromise agreement with Greece and it should stay that way.

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