The hot-and-cold phase of the negotiations with Greece is over - negotiations that are crucial to the future of Macedonia and its citizens. Maybe it’s true that a lot has been done, as foreign ministers and negotiators Dimitrov and Kotzias claim, who always make efforts to leave the impression of moderate optimism. More precisely, they are most careful when talking in front of cameras and microphones not to give even the slightest reason that the party they represent is guilty of possible failure, but also not to cause revolt and mistrust in their country, while not offending neighbors, because of which both Ministers were constantly in an extremely delicate position. But the maneuver space is so narrow that they cannot turn either left or right. Either forward, or back, but they cannot stand still any longer.
The last stage of the negotiations between Greece and Macedonia is harder than climbing Mount Everest without oxygen tanks. If you turn back, you will fall in the abyss. If you go forward and make the wrong step you will fall in the abyss as well. If you stay put, you will surely end up in a “white death”, with a nice image before your eyes, but you’d still be dead. The only way to save yourself is to conquer the mountain peak. But how can you do that without oxygen? By swallowing the toad, as suggested by my colleague Zoran Dogramadziev many years ago, when it was still small and easy to swallow. The world professional then wrote: this time everyone must swallow a toad, the sooner the better. It's easiest when it's still young. Our toad has grown so much since then that we all would either have to swallow it, or we will be left hanging over the abyss, until we fall down and disappear.
Macedonia is pressured by the EU, NATO and the United States to make the last move and accept the constitutional change of the name with a geographical determinant. In a statement by a senior State Department official for Alsat TV, an American politician for the first time publicly states that "in order to reach the concordance of the basic requirements of both sides, certain constitutional changes will be necessary. What kind and how deep those changes would be - it is up to Skopje and Athens. It is crucial for the package of solutions. “"This acts as a cold shower in Macedonia, that America has completely left Macedonia to Greece, not so much because of the consent to accept certain constitutional changes, but because of the fact that the depth and character of the changes should be decided only by Athens and Skopje, which could mean meeting all the demands made by Athens. Whether this is also the end of the negotiations and a total fiasco, or should it mean that Athens is more powerful and more important than the strategic interests of the EU and the US for the Western Balkans, specifically for the Republic of Macedonia.
The answer is categorical NO. Neither NATO, nor the EU, nor the US will give up the strategy for the Balkans, at least not because of Athens. On the contrary, this position is strengthened, which is clearly visible from the nervous reactions from Moscow, but also from some other less visible announcements. In the package of solutions that are still concealed in secrecy, there are certain advantages for Macedonia that cannot be repelled and that are already well packed. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev's statement that the issue of amending the Constitution can be opened, but beware that this can happen on the day of Macedonia's accession to the EU's regular membership, ie, with the ratification of that decision in all parliaments, of course, including the Greek. Since this means that this cannot happen for at least seven years, as the negotiations with the EU will last in the best possible way, and until then, there will be many other issues and probably changes in both Greece and Macedonia, then, it is clear that Macedonia's NATO accession, if there is an agreement, has to happen next year, while the package of constitutional changes and guarantees must also be immediately accepted by Greece and Macedonia, by Brussels and the UN, while Tsipras and Zaev are prime ministers, by appointment when each stage enters into force.
Any other solution would be unsustainable in the long run. The view that the solution must be sustained is also accepted by both Greece and Macedonia, with strong support from the United Nations, Brussels and the US. It is therefore a very difficult final solution. If Macedonia feels unwarranted, humiliated or forced to do something against the interests of the state and on the expense of national identity and language, the solution will not be sustainable, even in the short term, regardless of any agreements and constitutional changes. Sustainability of the solution is the biggest guarantee that Macedonia cannot be left alone in negotiations with the more powerful Greece. A good compromise makes both sides equally happy, or unhappy. The skill of political leaders and the international factor is to make both parties equally happy.
Macedonia's membership in the two largest economic and military unions, the EU and NATO, would be the most important historical event after the formation of the first Macedonian state in 1944 and declaring independence in 1991. It is the determination that provides Europeanization, progress and entry into the world of Western civilization where Macedonia is geographically and politically and ideologically and culturally belonging. This chance must not be missed. This will best preserve the state, its identity and language, and provide a better life for all citizens of the Republic of Macedonia. There are 2,500 different national identities and special languages in the world, with fewer than 200 countries. There are only 27 in the EU, and only 29 in the NATO. None of them broke up, nor did they lose linguistic and national distinctiveness. Throughout the history of the Macedonian people, during each negation, they did not weaken, but they strengthened the identities. That's how it is going to be now, in a democratic Europe.