There is a difference in opinion in North Macedonia among the political entities as to whether the nationality should be written in the new identity cards or not. For some it is necessary, for others, there is no such thing in world practice.
While President Stevo Pendarovski does not agree that nationality should be on ID cards, as it is a practice that has not be adopted by any democracy in the world, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev believes it sometimes makes sense to have different views with the President on certain issues, even though they believe in the same values
“There is no democratic state in the world where ethnic or religious beliefs are recorded. I do not mind, I do not think that if this law is passed with such a provision it will dissolve the state, nor that it will have negative consequences. Personally, I do not agree, but if they vote in this way, I will sign the decree, although I do not agree that this information should be included on the identity cards”, Pendarovski said.
According to Zaev, it is good that the president will sign the decree if the majority approves the law.
“Sometimes we who believe in the same values in some aspects differ and that makes a lot of sense. However, the president is the first citizen of the country, this for me is something that is worth noting; in the first meeting we will discuss the arguments. All ethnic communities in the country will be taken into account, but citizenship is a feature that is mandatory in all documents, and nowhere is it forbidden or restricted to be ethnic”, Zaev said yesterday.
He reminded that the political party BESA submitted and supported the legal proposal in 2019 when the constitutional changes were approved and that it is operating with a specific word within the ruling coalition.
“BESA asked for it, then they gave their arguments, then publicly and by then the government announced that this is acceptable, of course we examined it and this is in the spirit of the Prespa Agreement. The identity card is an identification document, and in a multinational society, when smaller ethnic communities are possible, we must not remain silent. The largest community has not been lost; the Macedonians, the Albanians, they will all be registered”, Zaev said.
He stressed that the arguments were reviewed by the expert services and were cross referenced with the Prespa Agreement.
“It is important to fully respect the citizenship, where the Macedonians/citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia are. The national identity of the Macedonians is confirmed by the Prespa Agreement, as is the Macedonian language, and there is absolutely no threat to any interest”, Zaev said.
The leader of the main opposition party, Hristijan Mickoski, said that VMRO-DPMNE claims that the nationality should be on the identity cards and passports and does not support a change to the name of the ‘Republic of Macedonia’. That is why, he says, there is a five-year period that must be applied to personal identity documents and passports.
As for the proposal to register citizenship on identity cards, he called on Zaev, if he really wants to, for the government to submit a law with a European flag to Parliament.
“If Zaev really wants to do this, why not do it now and submit the law to the Parliament with a European flag, so that I can be recognized as a Macedonian. It is absolutely true that there is a serious remark about this from an ambassador of a neighbouring country”, Mickoski said.
He believes that the coalition between SDSM and BESA is based on glass legs, because Zaev, after being reprimanded by a foreign diplomat, withdrew what was agreed during the formation of the coalition, that is, to include the nationality of the citizens on the identity cards.
The United Party for Macedonia (OM) has said in a written statement that it does not support the inclusion of nationality in identities and calls on those proposing it to reconsider this proposal and make a better analysis of the possible consequences.
According to them, nationality is an individual right to self-determination.
“Individual freedom is for every person to feel and be what they are. Even in the federal states and in countries where there are more nationalities, nationality is not written, it is a sacred right to individual freedom and democracy”, declare the party “United for Macedonia”.
Greece, on the other hand, expects consistent respect for the Prespa Agreement and does not want to comment on what the opposition in North Macedonia is saying.
“We hope and expect consistent respect for the provisions of the Prespa Agreement, which is one of the points, the criteria related to the process of the accession of North Macedonia to the EU”, said Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexandros Papaioannou.
Asked about VMRO-DPMNE’s request not to include the adjective “North” in the identities, Papaioannou said he would not comment on “what the opposition says in North Macedonia”.
“What I want to say is what Nikos Dendias said when Bujar Osmani was here. Of course, we hope and expect consistent compliance with the provisions of the Prespa Agreement, which is one of the points, the criteria mentioned in the process of accession of North Macedonia and the start of negotiations with the EU. I would not like to comment on what VMRO says in this case, said the representative of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs”./ibna