The Thorny Path of North Macedonia Towards Achieving European Goals

Beograd_240125_Željko Šajn 04
Source: Kosovo Online

Written for Kosovo Online by Zeljko Sajn

Afrim Gashi, the leader of the Alternative party, which is part of the Albanian coalition "Vredi," is the new president of the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia. This is the result of a new coalition government in our neighboring country, between VMRO-DPMNE, led by Hristijan Mickoski with coalition partners, and the coalition of Albanian opposition parties "Vredi," which acts against the largest Albanian party DUI. The latter was a coalition partner of SDSM, the second largest Macedonian party in North Macedonia, in the previous government.

In the parliamentary elections, VMRO-DPMNE won 58 seats, and together with the "Vredi" coalition, which won 14, it holds a majority in the parliament. However, as the VMRO-DPMNE leader frequently pointed out after the elections, this party has a majority that allows comfortable cooperation with Macedonian parliamentary parties. It is announced that the Liberal Party, led by Zajkova, with its two MPs, which it won as a coalition partner of SDSM, will nevertheless side with VMRO-DPMNE and support the coalition agreement with "Vredi." It remains to be seen what kind of agreement Hristijan Mickoski and Maksim Dimitrievski will make.

Judging by the protest departure of the Left party from the parliamentary session when Gashi was elected president of the Assembly, the new coalition of VMRO-DPMNE and "Vredi" will not have the support of this party, even for issues that are crucial for the development of Euro-integration processes, such as constitutional changes. Namely, the leader of the Left, Dimitar Apasiev, commented on Gashi's election as the new president of the parliament as "enabling the Kosovization of Macedonia," as he explained in the Assembly, after which the Left, with its six MPs, left the plenary constitutive session of the Assembly, although there was previously talk of cooperation with Mickoski. Hristijan Mickoski told Apasiev that he had a blank offer to join the national unity, but that he, as Mickoski put it, directed his plans towards planning a summer vacation, deciding whether to enjoy it in Hurghada or another Greek beach.

During the election campaign, Mickoski emphasized that he did not want DUI and its leader Ali Ahmeti as coalition partners, stating that this Albanian party, together with SDSM, committed numerous criminal acts. On the other hand, Mickoski based his coalition with "Vredi" on a gentleman's agreement, as explained by the leader of the Albanian Alliance and candidate of the "Vredi" coalition for the president of North Macedonia, Taravari. He stated in a show that there is no written agreement, but that the foundations of European integration, constitutional changes (where no time frame is specified), and the fight against corruption were agreed upon.

However, it should be noted that the leaders of the "Vredi" coalition, during and after the presidential elections, consulted with Albin Kurti, who was declared the president of all Albanians by this coalition in Tetovo late last year. This street acclamation act took place with the support of many citizens under Albanian iconography. On the other hand, the "Vredi" coalition does not have good relations with Edi Rama, the Prime Minister of Albania, as neither does Kurti, who is in a political quarrel with him. When forming the government with SDSM, Ali Ahmeti took all Albanian parties to Tirana for consultations with Rama on how to protect Albanian national interests after the elections. One of the DUI party records with guidelines from Albanian leaders for the meeting in Tirana with Rama later evolved into the Tirana document.

Predicting what can be expected from the Republic of North Macedonia in the coalition relationship between VMRO-DPMNE and "Vredi" is very early, but it is evident that the Albanian coalition is permanently consulting with Kurti, who persistently and consistently follows Adem Demaçi's goal – the creation of the so-called Greater Albania, with a map that includes parts of North Macedonia's territory, under which he was declared the president of all Albanians.

Macedonians, however, do not give much importance to this attack on Macedonian territory, relying on the protection of the North Atlantic Alliance, whose members include Albania, Montenegro, and Greece, territories on which Kurti also agitates. Certainly, the question remains what role NATO will play after the new global policy advocated by Russia based on balanced relations without hegemonic actions.

North Macedonia has chosen the path of Euro-integration, like all former Yugoslav republics. Is this desire sufficient to avoid new territorial devastations and divisions following the fall of the Berlin Wall, emerging from the direction of Ukraine, where on one side is NATO and its allies, and on the other is the Russian Federation with its national interests on Ukrainian territory?

Besides the pressures from neighbors hindering its European integration – primarily Greece, with which it signed the Prespa Agreement precisely for achieving Euro-Atlantic integrations, threatening to block again if the agreement is not consistently respected, and Bulgaria, which demands another constitutional change for its people to become a constituent element of North Macedonia's highest state act – one step could also jeopardize its relations with Serbia. This refers to co-sponsoring the Resolution on the Genocide in Srebrenica, which placed this neighboring country of Serbia, through the will of a DUI member, Bujar Osmani, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the wrong side, aligning with countries that experienced a catastrophic diplomatic failure, turning their backs on Serbia, which did not deserve this from North Macedonia. However, it should be noted that this was not the will of the Macedonian people, and that no one tried to prevent Osmani from implementing his decision.

President Gordana Siljanovska Davkova criticized Ambassador Ljubomir Frckovski in New York for not consulting her, as she is also one of the responsible subjects for implementing foreign policy. Her statement, however, lacked a part explaining why she was passive. Maybe she was preparing for her first official trip to Italy and the Vatican.

North Macedonia will face thorny paths both externally and internally to reach bright prospects and achieve European goals. What inspires optimism is that it will be led on this path by a president who won with the overwhelming will of the people, who entrusted mandates to the new government, thus choosing a new path for their state towards a better future, giving a clear opinion on the hypocritical policy of the West and their priorities in the political whirlpool on the global level – the preservation of territorial integrity and sovereignty.

This government is still being formed. It is expected that Hristijan Mickoski will receive mandates from President Davkova and form a new government by mid-June, in which the Albanian coalition "Vredi" will reportedly have six ministerial positions, not including the ministries of defense, foreign, and internal affairs. Let us hope that this government will fulfill the promises made to the people and follow their will in creating foreign and internal policies, and with a smart strategy, lead the country into the European Union.