Non-paper – cold shower or additional motivation?

After the publication of the document from France and the Netherlands, Besa’s Tetovo Wing claims that it has uncovered the government’s false optimism about the EU integration process

The non-paper from France and the Netherlands, which states that Macedonia and Albania have not taken the necessary steps and failed to fulfill the promised reforms, and that therefore the two countries should not receive a date for negotiations was a cold shower for the public. This is in contrast to the latest optimistic statements by European Commissioner for Enlargement Johannes Hahn, who on several occasions assessed that he expects the European Council to give a green light in June, and start the accession negotiations with Macedonia.

According to that document, France and the Netherlands stand firmly on the position that Macedonia has not yet made specific reforms in the justice system, the administration that remains under political influence, and the insufficient fight against crime and corruption.

The Albanian political campus has divided views.

Besa’s Skopje wing, whose leader is Afrim Gasi, told Independent/Nezavisen newspaper that they, as a party, are extremely interested in Macedonia implementing the necessary reforms and unblocking the Euro-Atlantic process. According to the spokesman for this Besa wing, Orhan Murtezani, the moment they receive the official document, it will be examined by party bodies, and then they will form an official position.
Bilas Kasami’s Tetovo wing has a series of criticisms. Vice President Abdus Demiri said that he only saw optimism coming from this government, but not specific results, and that was almost as if the government plan 3-6-9 did not exist.

“Apart from the expressed optimism in this specific plan, we cannot see any radical changes in the direction of the reforms that are expected in order to have genuine institutions, rule of law and the justice system, efficient public administration and transparent management of state institutions. Plan 3-6-9, except as a document, is not seen in real terms at all. This government has put all its policy and capacity in addressing the name issue, forgetting the political preconditions for joining the EU,” Demiri noted.
Political analyst Albert Musliu has a different view and says the non-paper is an unofficial document which should be an incentive for Macedonia to speed up the required reforms, but also to resolve the name dispute with Greece.
“Non-paper is not an official position, because Netherlands and France and other EU member states should present that position to the European Council. The remarks they have can turn into a negative response to a negotiation date, and that date is conditioned by a consensus in the EU. This non-paper can be assessed as a reminder, but also encouragement for us, and for Albania, to complete the reforms. France’s position is not surprising, as President Macron has already announced them, but I do not believe that they will block the process, if the dispute with Greece is resolved,” Musliu said.
The opposition VMRO-DPMNE claims that the non-paper unmasked Zoran Zaev’s government and destroyed the prime minister’s false promises. Due to non-implementation of the reforms, Hristijan Mickoski’s party demanded resignations from Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Bujar Osmani, Finance Minister Dragan Tevdovski and Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski, Labor and Social Policy Minister Mila Carovska, as well as ministers of Health and Economics Venko Filipce and Kresnik Bektesi.
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci has also stated his view on the name issue. In a farewell meeting with the Ambassador of Macedonia in Pristina, Ilija Strasevski, he expressed hope that the 27-year-old name dispute with Greece will finally be resolved. “The final solution to the name dispute between Macedonia and Greece, as well as Macedonia’s accession to NATO, will mean lasting peace and stability in the region,” Thaci said.

Blerim Ismaili