By Erol Rizaov Columnist Nezavisen Vesnik
Macedonia has secured its European future, Greece has protected its past. This is the main framework in which the image of the future relations between Greece and Macedonia is situated. Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev demonstrated state courage and self-sacrifice to resolve the decades-long dispute that blocked Macedonia from becoming a member of NATO and the EU, and Greece of becoming a leader in the region, a key player in the Euro-Atlantic integration of the countries of the Western Balkans. Prime Ministers Tsipras and Zaev are entering into the contemporary history of both countries and Europe as responsible politicians who have shown that they can, with political will, prepare for a compromise, solve even the most complex decades-long unsolved disputes. Foreign ministers, Nikos Kotzias and Nikola Dimitrov, with their teams laboriously completed on difficult task for future generations. It would be a great misfortune if this significant matter does not end up as if it were a historical act.
Of course, nothing is over until it is over, but according to the already given statements, what was up to the negotiators and the prime ministers, most of the work is completed. But not the hardest part. There is a confrontation with understandable resistance, but also with malicious and tendentious attempts to undermine the agreement that should be passed in the parliaments of both countries, and to be approved in a referendum by the citizens of Macedonia. So, there is no room for euphoria and for celebration, for zurlas and drums.
Changing the name of the state does not make the citizens of Macedonia happy, which is quite understandable and normal. We must take under consideration the fact that many citizens accept this act with regret, sadness and revolt, but also with relief, only because of the European future and because of the promised rapid membership in NATO and membership of Macedonia in the European Union in a few years. And it’s okay to determine what’s better and what’s of greater interest. It is neither a minor, nor a simple matter to accept a new country name after 74 years. Any insult to this feeling is a big mistake and a sin because we must bear in mind that a concession is made not because of one’s pressure, but the toad is swallowed for providing faster development and a better life for the next generations. Citizens of Macedonia will also show wisdom in a referendum that they approve the concessions to bring Macedonia to the place it belongs.
The big problem is with the malicious chauvinist and nationalist quasi-patriotic fires that are again lit by senior political and state officials. President of the State Gjorge Ivanov began first. He immediately made arrogant statements, while, until recently, claimed that he was not at all informed. Without even counting to three, send a shamefully hasty and malicious announcement to the public. The President addressed the citizens with an arrogant tone, with an intriguing and speculative message that such important agreements of national interest were not supposed to be made over the telephone. He approached his 0.1 percent of the citizens who still support him that he cannot accept the fact that for nine years of his presidential term he did absolutely nothing to unblock the Euro-Atlantic integration of Macedonia, or helped in any way for something to move from the dead end. On the contrary, with its anti-government and anti-European policies, the President only caused damage.
Gjorge Ivanov ruined the reputation of the state and degraded the presidential institution with his attitude towards the suspected high-ranking officials of VMRO-DPMNE by giving pardoning them, and immediately withdrawing the decision afterwards. Macedonia will feel the consequences of this obstruction of justice for many years. President Ivanov repeatedly violated the Constitution ignoring the arrogant fact that parliament passed a law twice. This attitude towards parliamentary power-sharing makes it unheard of the function entrusted to it by citizens, although by many indications, counting votes under very suspicious circumstances. President Ivanov was not included in the investigation for the bloodshed on April 27 last year, when there was an attempted coup and murder of lawmakers. His delay in granting the mandate and delaying the constitution of the Assembly had a direct impact on the creation of a setting for lynch. The violation of the constitutional provision not to grant the mandate of the parties constituting the majority is a direct incitement to the coup and bloodshed. One day, he will have to be a subject of an investigation.
In the referendum, citizens will show to all opponents of the European integration of Macedonia where their place is.
Politicians who now want to participate in the historic process of Europeanisation of Macedonia, just as for the independence of the state, should invite citizens and their followers to choose for a better and more certain future. In the European Union, national, religious, cultural particularity is considered wealth, and these things are nourished and protected. It is becoming a serious obligation for both the member state and the EU. Macedonia with NATO and EU membership, with the new alliances, will only strengthen its national identity, and cultural achievements will be more accessible to both Europe and the world.
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, prepared for self-sacrifice because of his firm determination as leader of the opposition, has shown to the public that the decisions, however tough and unpopular, are better than justifications, because the strategic interests of the state and the citizens are not fulfilled. Zaev is on a good way to becoming in a statesman. He overthrew the Gruevski regime peacefully, and secured a European future for Macedonia by negotiating. If this work is completed as it is in sight, Zoran Zaev has secured a place in the contemporary history of Macedonia.