Now let’s get to work

Erol Rizaov

The greatest achievement in an independent Macedonia, the collapse of the barricades on the road to Europe, can turn into the biggest defeat if that great historic capital is wasted. It won’t be surprising, because it happened to us before, to make a suicidal jump when we were standing right before the goal and destroy everything that was accomplished with great tribulation, sacrifices and painful concessions to free the country from slavery and reach this historic agreement with Greece, which was a prerequisite for the start of the faster development and democratization of the country as a decent European parliamentary state.

The Europeanization of Macedonia after removing the blockades requires a lot of work, devotion and courage. For this, one must first master the hardest part that depends only on us, and this is called: change of consciousness. It is necessary to prove how true it is that the vast majority of citizens, all relevant political parties, all parliamentary groups, all the governments and presidents of the state, all institutions and development plans for the country’s future for the past 28 years have been sincerely committed to Macedonia for it to become a member of NATO and the EU. In the next eight to ten years, this must be confirmed as the most important goal from which there is no deviation and that Macedonia has the capacity and human resources to shorten the way to its greatest strategic priorities that have been hampered for decades. The political competition for the conquest of power is necessary to focus on giving the trust of political parties and leaders who will sooner and more successfully implement the reforms that lead to EU membership and to belonging to the European family, and not to those who are constantly pushing the lie for a “better deal”. Both in Macedonia and Greece, those who promise such a thing are actually the obstacles to good neighborly relations and the future of Macedonia. Better agreement than this is not possible, as it cannot even be annulled. It is necessary to start from this fact in order to realize the interests of the majority of citizens of Macedonia. If, for years, there were justifications for obstacles posed by Greece, often used by the cover-up policy and their own mistakes, such excuses would no longer be acceptable. We need solutions. Therefore, gentlemen politicians from the government and the opposition, roll up your sleeves and go to work. In front of us is the most difficult stage, to bring to life what is contained in the agreement, which has been accepted with the adoption of the constitutional changes.

It is no less important to fulfill the tasks of starting accession negotiations with the EU with the smooth functioning of the entire justice system and the rule of law, the effective fight against organized crime and corruption, free and independent media, and parliamentary control of the intelligence services. This is possible only through sound trial processes and verdicts in cases pending before the courts, enabling the special and regular prosecution without obstacles, that is, with strong support to continue to prosecute organized crime of the top of the power and the centers of power. The work of the Special Prosecutor’s Office, which has reached an enviable professional level, with 150 expert people, prosecutors, lawyers, economists and investigators who track money trails, crime and corruption and an international black market and home must not be limited. The SPO institution that has earned reputation and trust, and which has caused fear and trembling among the criminogenic powers, should not be submerged in gray under the control of the authorities due to points and commas when the days and deadlines for their work are coming to an end, whether from the day when Zoran Zaev handed over wiretapped conversations, or when each of the objects in the SPO came de facto. This Special Prosecutor’s Office should have an eternal term, especially after earning the trust of the public, but also with other judicial authorities and good cooperation with the regular public prosecutor’s office. In fact, it would be much better for the regular public prosecutor’s office, which was degraded and under complete control of the politics and regime when ordering the ruling political opponents to finally get the same working conditions as the Special Prosecutor’s Office.

The State Anti-Corruption Commission is also an important link in the entire chain in the fight against organized crime. And it is not true that Macedonia has been left without an anti-corruption commission for eight months. There hasn’t been such defense against corruption for ten years in Macedonia, a corruption that has a scale of an epidemic, which starts from the birth of children, to death and beyond. If we think a little bit harder, apart from a few flashes, Macedonia never actually had an anti-corruption commission. The control of the intelligence services and the regulation of the media space in accordance with high European standards is well on track to complete within the set deadlines, although there is a lot of work there too.

Successfully completing these tasks, which are of utmost importance, leads to a negotiating date in June, or during this year. Macedonia deserves this, along with good financial support from Europe to start the reforms contained in 36 chapters as the most difficult state exam we will take, more or less all of them. In the negotiations with the EU, thousands of domestic and foreign experts and professionals will be directly or indirectly involved. Accession negotiations with the EU are the toughest and most important part of the work that needs to be completed depending on the success of the passed exams. Usually these negotiations last from six to eight years, if the exceptions and precedents are excluded. This clearly indicates that in the coming years it is very likely that the country will be led by political leaders and governments who will work diligently and courageously on Macedonia’s EU membership. The chances of those who will hinder the Europeanization of Macedonia should be reduced to zero.

The current authorities have a chance to start the accession talks at this moment, if they get rid of the enthusiasm for early parliamentary elections in the middle of their four-year term. They are expected to start working hard, in addition to becoming a NATO member and starting the EU membership negotiations, to achieve some of the key election promises that indicate a greater personal and social standard of citizens. First comes the average salary of 500 euros in the last year of the term, greater economic growth, poverty reduction, construction of significant infrastructure facilities, roads, the overdue gasification etc. Two years until regular general elections, this is enough time to achieve success if the government works at a strong pace and is not stealing, and a very short period of time if there are useless debates and excuses for unfinished business and unfulfilled promises.