The decreasing self-esteem of the Government and the more aggressive heirs of Gruevism in the opposition’s leadership create a climate of uncertainty and concern, rather than a reformed environment that is necessary before the start of negotiations with the EU. The great cabinet changes are Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s clear recognition that things are not moving forward with the desired speed. But the question is whether staffing changes in the ranks of the government alone, which is most responsible for the overall situation in the country, are the best solution.
The post-regime period in the past two years proved to be much more difficult than the biggest optimists could assume. Achievements with the tearing down of Euro-Atlantic barriers are devalued before the anachronous recidivism of 11-year-long “vmroisation”, which is essentially anti-state, generously helped by the fake news, but also helped by the mistakes of the new authorities.
The hypersensitivity of the criticism of each, and even the most banal, decision makes the Government more anemic, mostly committed to itself, without the necessary determination and without greater suggestion that we are moving in the right direction – an incomprehensible fact, but not sufficiently widely understood. In democratic societies there is nothing that is more common than criticism of power and the centers of power that is of great help to the institutions of the system, and to creating critical awareness among the public. However, a reshuffle of the government’s cabinet and the wider human resource change, which has been done by almost all previous prime ministers dozens of times, has been blown out of proportion in anticipation, as if a miracle is being prepared that will create an upheaval, not so much in the reforms as in the public relations, so that the Government could become the favorite so far.
This obsession for a popular government distracts the ultimate goal with a fake suicidal division that it is about foreign policy successes, and not primarily a historic step for the internal stability of the country. The Prespa Agreement and the one with Bulgaria are not only foreign political issues that, in the face of terrible damage to the state and its future, are “successfully” problematized, but primarily internal political solid foundations for survival and unhindered development. Without solving these preconditions, the only road that was open was the decay of North Macedonia. This must be taken as a primary necessity, and then everything else.
The sensitivity of criticism, as well as the unreasonable and euphoric praise, have distanced the Government from public relations. Thus, the overthrow of Nikola Gruevski and his government, the Prespa Agreement and the improvement of relations with all neighbors on the democratic path, are losing the power of historical significance, especially with the public auctioning of the date for the start of accession negotiations with the EU, which, in addition to Brussels, was a big mistake by both the Government itself and the Prime Minister. The criticism towards the leaders of the old Europe by the domestic and world media outlets was justified and very important in creating an ambience in the West that the decision over North Macedonia with a few months delay, was unjustified.
But there was no need for the holders of power to create a climate of disappointment and fraud by Brussels. And we are still listening to unprecedented hypocrisy by the opposition of apparent concern that we have not received a date for negotiations in June.
Let’s remind ourselves of the reactions from a part of the public just a year ago, when people claimed that we would never join NATO – that it was a big lie, and then suddenly the prospect of membership in the North Atlantic Alliance became a reality that silenced everyone. Opponents of the NATO membership, visibly weakened, changed their tune and began preaching that we do not need that alliance with a criminal military machine that controls the world and causes war crises.
That’s how it will be with the EU as well, when on this occasion, the growing number of Eurosceptics will finally realize that negotiations will begin in just a few months. Then the election campaigns and the conquest of power will shift to the ground on the domestic political scene. It would be a good option for entering normalcy, if the opposition succeeds in getting rid of the criminogenic ballast of 11 years of uncontrolled governing, and if the government decides more effectively with the realization of the achieved advantages, and above all the Euro-Atlantic integrations and good relations with the neighbors, economic growth, which at the same time signify the construction of an economically and politically stable country. All of this is contained in 35 chapters of Brussels, which should be incorporated in practice, and above all in the citizens’ awareness that a new state with European values is being built.
If the government continues to shake with fear after each criticism, and after each open or closed letter, after each and every cabinet reshuffle, after each protest for any commercial activity and construction of anything, it would only confirm the thesis of lost self-confidence. There isn’t an ideal government anywhere in the world. The success of the cabinet changes is reflected after the results, not in advance.
In the post-regime period, public reactions are understandable, free of clutches and fear after so many years. These days, when the changes in the government have been announced, one cannot go reminded of at least of one of the forced resignations and dismissals of the ministers in Nikola Gruevski’s governments. For instance, former Finance Minister Trajko Slaveski never told the public openly what were the reasons for his dismissal, and now he is very loud in making assumptions about the replacement of his colleague Dragan Tevdovski. Slaveski then accepted the responsibility of being part of the party top in the most corrupt government, as compensation for his silence after the dismissal from the ministerial post.
The resignation of the Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Ivica Bocevski is even more specific. Bocevski courageously withdrew himself because he had nothing to offer to the government anymore, a government that does not want to join NATO and the EU, and then quickly changed his mind and anticipated an ambassador’s post. So, after his bold decision, he landed in Brazil. The professors showed their students and pupils that in Macedonia it is better to keep silent than to tell the truth to the public. The plight of the Minister of Finance, Zoran Stavreski, with the “madmen in the government”, is very well known from the wiretapped testimonies.
One thing must be kept in mind when you are in power. And that is that the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the National Bank must be the most dependent and bold people, who do not give in to the daily political needs of governments. The Governor has a slightly easier time than the Minister of Finance, since he is not part of the Government, and is appointed and dismissed by the Parliament on the proposal of the head of state. While the Minister of Finance is in a more difficult position because the financial flows and budgetary spending are the blood of the country, especially in Macedonia, which is almost completely budgetary and from which we all are fed, not just state-owned institutions, but also private companies.
With the dismissal of Minister of Finance Tevdovski and the taking of that ministerial post by the Prime Minister, whether it is temporary or long-term, faster decisions on the strength of a double position are possible, but it also could mean that Zaev would put himself at great risk with this act. Coming to terms with the business community, if it is at stake, and it seems like that is the case, for quicker financial interventions of the government with budgetary money, however tempting, without caution, it can cause chaos with incalculable consequences. The great interventionism of the state, that is, the government, on the financial flows without respecting the economic laws, can bring down all of Zaev’s successes and his government. Conversely, if the Minister interprets and monitors the financial flows too rigidly, then his replacement is inevitable. But in that case, a new competent minister of finance is appointed, who will continue to apply the economic regularity in a positive sense of the word.
When in government, the prime minister, that is, the first minister is also the second, however practical and legal it may seem, is not a good sign.