We are very late. Very, very late, mostly to our fault, but we will reach our goal. Macedonia will be a member of both the EU and NATO. The future is no longer our destiny, it is firmly determined, whether or not some member of the European family, for whatever reason, delays Macedonia’s integration and Europeanization. Those processes have long begun, and now the last most difficult stage, already called ‘Tour de France”, is taking place. One has to endure and work without weeping and sobbing, without servility, pathetic emotions and disappointment. This time, we can be rightfully angry at both France and Europe and the world in general, but most of all angry at ourselves for the great failures, wrong politics and crimes throughout the entire period of the country’s independence. For almost 30 years, in all of the documents and declarations, development plans for building democratic and legal socio-political and economic order and in all areas, the European future of the country is practically legalized, but those plans and projects have not been realized by the political elites, most often hampered by power struggles and primitive populism aided by quasi intellectuals.
Since then I have written, and I have repeated it hundreds of times, that Macedonia will become a member of the EU the day citizens stop caring. That is why today’s great emotions and the setting of a tragic fraud, though the decision has not been made, nor a decision that rejects Macedonia’s European future is possible, speak more of rash reactions and “wrist-slashing” whines of an abandoned and frustrated “old lady”. I’m tired of hearing the same sentence – we did everything asked of us, and you screwed us over. Possible postponement of negotiations with the EU, under France’s pressure, is announced as a death sentence for all of Macedonia. Of course, it is an absolutely wrong approach by politics to create a cheering ambience as in those hordes of fans cheering at football stadiums.
In politics, we have always needed cool and wise heads, but this time it seems we need it more than ever. It is time to master Europe’s number one lesson before we start accession negotiations. The interests of the state above all. The promises, whether something sounds fair or unfair, whether it looks like egoism and selfishness, whether one will like it or not, whether one will get angry or not, to measure exactly one’s own real strength, to accept compromise if there is no better solution is a European philosophy that has not been conquered in the Balkans, and in some countries even after EU membership. In Macedonia it is experienced as a tragedy, a betrayal, a knife in the back, the end of the world.
The second lesson is how to learn to say NO to Europe, more precisely to Brussels, if we have a better solution than theirs to some things, and how to teach the citizens of Macedonia that we don’t do things to fulfill the wishes of the European bureaucrats, but everything we do it for our own sake, for our own country. Neither with the Prespa Agreement with Greece, nor with all other agreements with our neighbors, even those with Brussels, have we been pushed to be accepted for Europe’s sake, but for our own sake.
We have always been able and can reject their rules. We have had situations where we have easily dismissed their warnings and recommendations. After they peacefully, calmly and without any emotions agreed with our “brave” and independent vote-making decisions, we have seen the negative consequences of disregarding the rules in the premier league in which we want to compete. The rules of the club must be learned, but also the maneuvers of the great and influential members of old Europe must be understood.
One has to be a little patient after all these years of mistakes, let both the government and the opposition in Macedonia cool off their heads. France will not halt Macedonia on its way to Europe. The successes achieved in the last three years that have brought Macedonia closer to the EU and NATO have not been erased, rejected or invalidated. French President Emmanuel Macron knows this and will announce it very soon when he receives the guarantees for the start of European reform. North Macedonia’s negotiations with the EU and European reforms will run in parallel and will end by 2030 when Macedonia becomes a full-fledged member of the reformed European Union. Those present will see for themselves.
The direction in which EU reforms will go has been hinted at by Henry Kissinger, one of the most influential people of the 20th century. When asked what he thought of the European Community he replied, “Who do I call if I want to call Europe?”. Today, 40 years after this Kissinger’s definition of the Western European Union, many things have changed. The Community has become a Union, and several member states, the so-called Old Europe, have been expanded and scattered throughout the continent, comprising 28 countries. Much has changed, but the wisdom of Henry’s assessment of Europe remains. In the EU you can’t talk and agree with just one person. That is why the negotiations drag on indefinitely and make Europe a slow loser in a match with the world giants. In this direction will be the reforms of the new European Union, but not at the cost of sacrificing the rest of the Balkans. It is a historic necessity that has long been recognized in Europe.
What is necessary to realize in Macedonia is to apply in practice the consensus that the vast majority in the country are in favor of EU and NATO membership and that it works as it suits responsible politicians who are screaming more for elections and conquest power, rather than the interests of the state. As long as negotiations have already begun, the goal will be difficult to achieve. All 35 chapters in Brussels should be opened no matter when the negotiations officially begin. We set our date for EU accession alone. It’s the day we close the chapters. All countries, excluding Turkey for well-known reasons, took six to eight years to fulfill their homework obligations, and some received good transitional ratings with patronage.
There will be no patronage for Macedonia, but if there is political stability in the country and fierce indiscriminate clashes with crime and corruption, and according to experts, Macedonia can successfully complete the negotiations in 10 years by fulfilling all obligations. If this is done, then you can be sure that it won’t make any difference to citizens whether we will officially and formally join the EU, as we will already have a prosperous country with quality living standards for the citizens.
Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik