By Emin Azemi
The end of summer marked the end of the imposed comfort of politicians. Some of them were not on holiday, some others had always been on holiday. Out of coincidence, it also happened that the Berlin Conference, which gathered political leaders of West Balkan, was held at the end of august. In Germany, all seasons are working seasons and this awoke small politicians with big dreams.
Sat in a Berliner table, the Balkan neighbors tried to act one more visionary than the other, with plans and ambitions for the future of the region. But, each one of them came to this table with a pending issue: Macedonians and Greeks have not yet finalized the dispute which has lasted for several years concerning the name. Kosovo and Serbia are suffering the consequences of the grudges of the past, Albania is trying to show some sort of neutrality, but Rama, “the referee”, this time had a double role: he should have been some sort of coordinator of this Conference and on the other hand, he should have articulated the integrating ambitions of Albanians in a united Europe.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, as the host of this conference, conference, didn’t have any difficulties in managing the summit. Her mandate went over a strict protocol scheme, because on one side she was interested to detect problems that concerned Western Balkan countries, before EU accession, but on the other hand, she also wanted to catch the train of the German influence in the region, which had stopped in Dubrovnik, after the independence of Croatia as a state.
The diplomatic “suitcase” of Nikola Gruevski was lighter than it was expected. It didn’t have the part which related to the political concerns of Albanians. We didn’t see any movements from Albanians, especially those in power, before the Berlin Conference. When we saw punches being thrown in front of the cameras, we realized what was the priority of Albanian politicians.
This is leading to European chancelleries to create the wrong impression that Macedonia has only one problem, which is a foreign one and that it has no domestic problems whatsoever. In fact, Germany has been very interested to know what have been the crucial points of relations between countries of West Balkan in order for the European future of the region not to be a burden for the EU, such as it’s the case with several states which were integrated with many challenged.
Moderated policies of Balkan politicians, such as Serb prime minister Vucic, to lift the tendencies of encouraging war, which was a tendency followed by his predecessors, is not said to impress that much the iron lady in Berlin. The fact that European institutions have been governed by non German bureaucrats in the past, has made the spirit of diplomatic eclecticism be reflected in the Balkan too.
The “train” of this diplomatic spirit without the “Deutche machine” was destined to hesitated in the rocky land of the Balkan and this favored local cowboys who during the night used to smuggle and during the day used to act like big politicians. Merkel’s “barn” alone made raised their awareness for the jobs that they had to finish.
*The author is a renowned publicist and publisher in Skopje and a media professor at the Southeast European University in FYROM
** The opinion of the author doesn’t necessarily represent IBNA’s editorial line