Wherever France and Germany participate in peace agreements, there was no peace

Željko Šajn
Source: Kosovo Online

Writing for Kosovo Online: Zeljko Sain, Politika's special correspondent from Skopje

The Western Balkans are still struggling to fulfill all the European conditions to become part of the European Union. As soon as it gets close to the goal, it faces new challenges and additional obstacles on the path of integration. At one time, the President of France Emmanuel Macron stopped the final act of accession of the Western Balkans to the European family, with the explanation that it was first necessary to arrange the relations in the Union itself and then to continue the accession processes. The Ukrainian war situation, the escalation of the conflict in Kosovo, and the new pressure on North Macedonia to change the Constitution once again testify to how well the relations have improved.

France took a leadership position in the European Union, signing numerous agreements to establish and maintain peace, as their content dictated. However, they seem to have been building the ground for unrest and conflict instead. Let's take the Minsk agreements as an example, which, according to former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former French President Hollande, served to prepare Ukraine for war with Russia, instead of being a foundation for peace. For the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo, the content of the Annex to the Brussels Agreement, which was adopted in Ohrid between Vucic and Kurti, was proposed. However, instead of a step towards the normalization of relations, we are witnessing a new conflict in the north of Kosovo between the Serbs and the police formed by the Kosovo government, legitimate for the countries that recognized Kosovo after the bombing of the FR Yugoslavia and that, together with the countries of the Quint, gave the wind at their backs for (non)-democratic elections. The European Union is not only silent on the behavior of its member Bulgaria, which behaves arrogantly on Macedonian soil by reviving fascist ideology by opening Bulgarian clubs bearing the names of proven Hitler collaborators but also supports it in the request that North Macedonia change the country's Constitution again in order to include the Bulgarians as a constitutive element, otherwise the European integration processes will be stopped permanently. And we know that admission to the European Union was promised to them even when they signed the Prespa Agreement with Greece, changing the Constitution and the name of the country.

At the Security Forum in Bratislava, Macron presented new solutions for the establishment of peace and democracy. Nevertheless, it is clear that France, the Quint countries, and the OSCE are trying more to highlight and strengthen their power; the development of democracy is just another cover for that. Wherever France and Germany participated in peace agreements, there was no peace. (No)peace in the Western Balkans hangs in the air, and the UN Security Council does not even discuss it, although according to the UN Charter, it has the right to exercise its influence. However, since Russia and China are also in it, it is very difficult to put such relations on the agenda. The former Prime Minister of Great Britain, Theresa May, during her visit to Skopje, after the European summit in Sofia, very energetically emphasized that the Russian Federation had nothing to claim on the territory of Europe and the Balkans. Then she asked the people of North Macedonia to change the Constitution and the name of the country in order to join the European Union. The Prespa agreement was signed and ratified in the Assembly, but North Macedonia did not give up on the path of European integration. Moreover, it needs blood, sweat, and tears to carry out new EU demands.

Today, North Macedonia is facing a new condition from France, one can even say imperative, to change the Constitution once again and introduce Bulgarians into the highest state act, in order to gain the European embrace. The new request caused not only a division of political opinions but also the attitude of the people, who have already been let down once by the EU. Achieving European integration is still the country's primary strategic goal, but given experience, it is no longer certain that even this concession will lead it to its goal. All that is known is that, if it does not change the Constitution, Bulgaria will impose a new veto and bring North Macedonia into a stalemate.

The government in North Macedonia is ready to take the step of changing the Constitution in order to achieve European goals, but the opposition, whose vote is decisive for this act, remains adamant that it does not want the country's Constitution to be changed again. The US sent a very harsh diplomatic message to the opposition leader to support the change of the Constitution in the Assembly for the advancement of Euro-Atlantic integration. However, the development of the situation on this front is still uncertain. Let us remind you that November is the deadline for changing the Constitution of the Republic of North Macedonia.

If the Constitution of the Republic of North Macedonia is not changed, North Macedonia will not only face a ramp on the road to European integration but also tension on the internal level of the country, especially in inter-ethnic relations. Macedonians are facing attacks by Bulgaria to renounce their identity and language, as well as achievements of People’s Liberation War, and Macedonia's neighbor Serbia is being demanded to renounce territory and sovereignty in Kosovo and Metohija, where tensions are increasing. With all that, it is very important for Albanians to achieve Euro-Atlantic integration.

It is necessary to make compromises in a truly democratic way, without the background that France and Germany created by sowing the seeds of war. Then the "powder keg", as our region is often called, will become the foundation of peace and an example of the success of dialogue, as the most important and effective diplomatic tool.