Interview with former FM Poposki: I’m not after functions, I’m not forming a new party, but I want to see change

Mr. Poposki, your name was mentioned in the context of former VMRO-DPMNE officials planning to form new or new parties. Is there any truth to that?

– No.

In that context, how do you think of the outbursts of former ministers of the VMRO-DPMNE government, who openly speak out against the party’s current leadership, leaving the impression that they have a better understanding with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev than with leader Hristijan Mickoski? After all, some of them were expelled from the party.

– As a party, we went through more than one failure. There is no drama in criticism. The way is a personal choice. Much more dangerous for VMRO-DPMNE than all the criticism is hoping that the government is not great and hoping that their inability will destroy them.

During the presidential election campaign, we only saw you once or twice publicly assisting Professor Gordana Siljanovska – Davkova on the ground. We rarely see you at party marches or other gatherings. What is your relationship with Mickoski? Are you happy with the way he is running the party?

-There is difference in how many times you’ve seen someone and how much someone has helped. I have an open relationship. Personally the most useful ones are always those who think critically. It’s bad to not have them. Even more so, relying solely on those who say what they think you want to hear. In my opinion, the most important thing for a party is vision. In order to move forward, we must draw on the need for an essential, profound change in our way of engagement and a different purpose. Constantly. I’m not after functions, I’m not motivated by court games, I’m not interested in a clientelistic attitude or going round in circles. I want innovation. Teams with creative minds. People who follow where the world is going. A view beyond the horizon. Democratic capacity to embrace innovation and seek the most advanced solution. This is what motivates me. I think VMRO-DPMNE should have that aspiration. Without it, it is normal to lose the most creative youth in the country. And we shouldn’t be offended.

In real politics, the measure of success is whether we form a government, get a mayor, a president or a council.
I am increasingly convinced that the election results will depend on our capacity to change the ultra-revolutionary way of thinking and behaving, which is a very difficult thing to do.

The impression is that due to your frequent trips abroad, you are not active enough in the Parliament or in the party. It has been exactly one year since the upheaval in Parliament and the unexpectedly vast majority of the government accepting the Prespa Agreement. You were absent from that session. What are your thoughts on the developments in Parliament today, as well as the name agreement with Greece?

– I did not get a democratic term for the name change and I could not participate. There are two realities today. From a Macedonian point of view: the solution has nothing to do with human rights, democracy or progressiveness. Internationally: it is seen as a formality for expanding military alliance. But without formality, we’re behind the offside line. It only takes a quick look at the world news on any medium, to see if international law or jungle law prevails.
It will not diminish our sense of being treated unfairly because we are smaller and poorer, but it will at least remind us of the brutal reality behind the offside line.

You are a former minister of foreign affairs. Surely you have contacts and information, will Macedonia receive the long-awaited date for starting negotiations with the European Union? Has the country and the Government done enough to get the green light from Brussels?

– Yes, we should get the date. It is just a written guide that is 14 years late, or five or six governments late that have delivered so far. It should not come as a shock if additional 14 years pass to membership with this pace. Our negotiations will be completely different from everyone else’s. If anyone is surprised by the recent announcements should know that we are about to see many of those things in the future, as well. There are ways to shorten the integration period, of course, but we will all need to overcome ourselves. We must be aware that this is a secondary decision for the EU. Britain’s Brexit, vote of confidence for a new commission, migrant arrangement, trade war, tax on Internet moguls… are more important for EU member states than administrative scheduling of an intergovernmental session with a country that has waited for so many years, and may wait as many years for membership. Whether we represent as “to be or not to be”, there it is just one point besides the many other important ones.

Next year we are expected to hold parliamentary elections, whether they are regular or early. Your party announces victory with 100,000 votes over the opposition. How realistic are these forecasts, what are your projections, does VMRO-DPMNE have the capacity and power to overthrow Zaev’s government?

– The difference between the first two is important, but the turnout also is significant, as well as the results of the third, fourth and perhaps fifth elections before the main one is concluded – which forms the government. It depends on their goals: more votes, large caucus, government participation, leading the government, constitutional majority, etc.
This current Government is probably most threatened by the Government itself. We should not be happy about others people’s weaknesses. We must aim higher. That is a healthy democracy. The risk is that fewer people will vote. The most creative young people expect a higher democratic spirit in the country, so that they can accomplish their goals, regardless of the government. These kids are sick of political obsession.

With the dissolution of parliament, your MP term will come to an end. What are your personal plans, where do you see yourself after the election?

– I haven’t decided yet.

Goran Adamovski