North Macedonia between "Greater Albania" and Bulgarian demands, with the silence of the EU, and what does that indicate to Serbia

Source: Kosovo Online

The visit of Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti Tetovo, along with the promotion of the Greater Albanian idea, showed that Bulgaria's conditionality in the process of joining the EU, which brought North Macedonia into a severe political crisis, will not be the only one that will give Skopje a headache. In previous years, North Macedonia made painful compromises and accepted the conditions of Greece and the EU, but it turns out that it got nothing in return, except for the crisis and further attacks on sovereignty.

Although North Macedonia is a member of NATO and a country that on the way to the European family has fulfilled numerous demands of Brussels and even changed its name, the EU did not react to the undisguised territorial aspirations of the Albanians that dominated during Kurti's visit. From all of this, according to the interlocutors of Kosovo Online, Serbia could learn important lessons and be very careful when it comes to demands coming from the West.

Journalist and correspondent correspondent for Politika from Skopje Zeljko Sain tells Kosovo Online that North Macedonia, on the one hand, is facing the issue of the Bulgarian minority, i.e. the constitutional changes that should be introduced in this legal act, which is a request of the international community, and on the other sides with increasingly obvious Greater Albanian aspirations.

"Macedonia is practically sandwiched between two parties. If they do not change the Constitution by November, the EU has openly told them that they would be in trouble, that they would face some kind of isolation, and that their future political and economic progress toward the European community would be called into question. At this moment, the territorial integrity and sovereignty of North Macedonia are not yet seriously threatened, but it would be useful to go back a little and recall what was happening in Kosovo, and I was a witness to those events from 1985 to 1991. They gradually started with some naive things, such as the request to change the Constitution of the then Yugoslavia, in order to get to the point where the MPs of the then Kosovo Assembly, i.e. the provincial parliament in Kacanik, proclaimed the ‘Kosovo as a state'. So what happened in Tetovo and Chair near Skopje, there is only one introductory situation with the iconography of "Greater Albania" and the proclamation of Kurti as the Prime Minister of all Albanians. This is not at all naive and may lead to one day gathering all Albanian MPs from, for example, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania, Greece from Macedonia, from all those parliaments, and they may make a similar decision, where they will say that 'Greater Albania' is functioning," Sain states.

He points out that at this moment it is still too early for something like that to happen, but he also adds that if the international community of the EU, NATO, and the USA does not react, we will have a situation that could go in this direction.

"The West could only react to one situation, and that is not to raise tensions but to point out to Kurti that he should clear up more important issues, first of all regarding corruption, and what is very important, regarding the implementation of the Brussels agreement and agreement from Ohrid, which he accepted. In this sense, they could react so that the situation is not aggravated on another level and that attention is not diverted, but that the situation is directed toward prosperity and progress towards the EU. He created a tense situation with his visit to North Macedonia and indicated that he did not want to adhere to what was agreed upon. In this sense, the EU and NATO should have reacted, especially since the territories of countries that are members of the Alliance, North Macedonia, Greece, and Montenegro appear on the map of 'Greater Albania'," our interlocutor points out.

He adds that there is no doubt that there is hypocrisy in the European Union, especially in the case of North Macedonia, which met all the demands of Brussels, and today it is in a situation where it is faced with the promotion of a "Greater Albania" on its territory, and Brussels is silent about it.

When asked if this was a kind of "lesson" for Serbia regarding the demands coming from the EU, Sain says that "Northern Macedonia is a school example for that".

"We don't need a better example than Macedonia of how to behave towards a foreign factor and the EU when it offers some solutions. You should be careful with everything they ask for," Sain concludes.

The President of the Democratic Party of Serbs in North Macedonia and MP in the Assembly, Ivan Stoilkovic, tells Kosovo Online that Skopje has sacrificed almost everything on the European road and has never gained anything.

"Either you will unquestioningly listen to everyone and work for their interests or you will be ostracized from everything. Macedonia sacrificed almost everything and never got anything; this only speaks of the fact that you should not take everything for granted. It was a million promises for all the concessions that Macedonia made in the past period: the Constitution was changed, its name was changed, the Ohrid agreement was made, which in a way defeated Macedonia as a state of the Macedonians, and if now all this continues with Bulgaria, things will go to the point where the issue of political federalization will be opened. Everything that appears in the public, which is the supposed federal arrangement of the state, will turn into reality. So, concessions never end," Stoilkovic says.

He cites investments as one of the examples of unfulfilled promises.

"There was so much talk about them, and instead, since joining NATO, North Macedonia has had the worst period in terms of investments. Either they lied or the person who agreed on behalf of Macedonia for all these concessions did not agree on adequate compensation, but was an advanced player for the realization of their goals," Stoilkovic assesses.

However, he believes that it is not only the fault of NATO and the EU but also of domestic politicians who uncritically approached all those projects.

"No Macedonian politician has succeeded in agreeing on anything good for the state and citizens, but only the concessions he is ready to make. But the international community also installs such politicians so that it can do what it wants," our interlocutor concludes.

On the occasion of Kurti's visit to North Macedonia and his call for the unification of the Albanians, which passed without any reaction from the European Union, Stoilkovic says that it is no longer possible to hide behind platitudes about democracy and human rights, respect for territorial integrity, because the cards have been thrown on the table and the whole story has been exposed.

"Everything has become so public and clear that only fools no longer understand what it is about. And those who understand and defend that story are obviously doing it for some lucrative interests; there is no other way to explain this. You can't say anymore that 'Greater Albania’ is just the dream of Albin Kurti".

Stolikovic asks what would happen if the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, visited Kumanovo in the same way that Kurti visited North Macedonia, and that Vucic sent messages about the unification of the Serbs into a single Serbian state and that he was in favor of North Macedonia to unite with Serbia and to open a front towards the Albanians.

"Bombs would be flying!", Stoilkovic himself answers and says that the EU is silent about all this because the whole game has been exposed.

"The all-Albanian policy and the approach of the EU and the USA, which defend this Greater Albanian idea and encourage it both publicly and secretly, have been laid bare. And the EU will keep silent about everything it can until it receives a nod from the US. Because if the EU would give its opinion, then they should give up Albin Kurti, who is their child, and that is simply not possible," Stoilkovic says.