Europe of stability and enlargement and the role of Macedonia

Aleksandar Nikoloski

The new composition of the European Commission was announced yesterday in Brussels. The European government, headed by former German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, will lead the European Union in the next five years. I have been in Brussels these past two days to attend meetings of the European People’s Party (EPP) Political Assembly and numerous other meetings in the European Parliament and the European Commission. Eeven in this composition of the European Commission, the EPP remains the strongest player. The party of founders of the European Union, which includes Europe’s most powerful center-right parties, is back in the presidency, as well as several key departments.
This commission is a composition of most political parties to date with many opposing views. It will be a strong challenge for Von der Leyen to balance the interests of both the right and center and left. At the same time, this commission reflects the reality in Europe. The European Union, as never before, is divided and even polarized for many essential purposes. Depending on the circumstances in different countries, different political groups are winning and there are no longer known waves of the past when a series of states in Europe have won parties from the left or the right wing.
It is this mix that is the most commented today in Brussels. The new commission has a strong portfolio for climate change, but also for democracy and demography that goes to our HDZ friends in Croatia, and the new commissioner Dubravka Shuica is clearly conservative but also a good woman manager, who, while serving as mayor in two terms managed to completely transform the city and make it one of the world’s most attractive tourist destinations.
What is particularly important is the strong support for enlargement. Namely, after five years of stagnation announced and realized by the current European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, enlargement is on the top agenda. Of course it has its big opponents too, so it was interesting to see these two days in Brussels as enlargers trying to stay as such in the new commission and those opposed and looking to split and merge with others, thereby losing or suppressing the priority of enlargement. The current wave of enlargement wins, which does not mean that several key states opposed to enlargement will continue to oppose it. That battle will be decisive for Macedonia. But in that battle we can help our enlargement friends, above all by hard work and home reforms, and a genuine friendship with them, not just ideological attacks.
Of particular importance for the whole region is that enlargement and good neighborly policy go to Hungary, which nominates Johannes Hahn’s successor as the current Hungarian justice minister and head of the Fidesz MP list in the last European elections. Laszlo Trocsanyi is considered good news for the entire region, as Hungary is strongly committed to integrating the whole region into the EU, and with its rich experience it can be of great help on this path.
Of course, the domestic performance of any aspiring country, even Macedonia, will be very significant, but it’s good when there is wind in the back. Macedonia needs to be smart and seize this rare opportunity. As never before we have a true friend behind us.
Does Zaev’s government have the capacity to do so? I’d say one big – no! With the continued attack on Hungary and Prime Minister Viktor Orban, primarily for ideological and personal reasons, it cannot be considered that they would make any major change in relations now. I’m even afraid that they can go to even greater extremes.
On the other hand, VMRO-DPMNE nurtures traditionally good relations with Hungary and Fidesz. The latest meeting with Prime Minister and President of Fides Viktor Orban, where we were together with VMRO-DPMNE President Hristijan Mickoski, reaffirmed that partnership. A few days before that meeting, I had the privilege of attending Europe’s largest youth camp in Transylvania, Romania, where again one of the key roles played by the Hungarians. All of these are strong and solid roadmaps for a solid partnership, a partnership that VMRO-DPMNE has both the knowledge and the means to use after the next early parliamentary elections in which it will win and form a government.
Macedonia has waited long enough for the EU doors to open. We need a strong shift, and in cooperation with our partners from the German CDU, which holds the European Commission presidency, and the Hungarian Fidesz, which has received the EU enlargement portfolio. We can lead Macedonia towards membership negotiations that will positively transform the country, and, after their successful completion, towards EU membership. Our mission has always been work and results. The choice is made by the citizens.

Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik