Sinking economy, booming corruption

Aleksandar Nikoloski

These days we are witnessing an eruption of a new corruption affair known as the “Racket 2”. We see how the Health Fund Director Dan Donchev and Healthcare Minister Venko Filipce have been charged with preventing entry of foreign investment and financial damage to the domestic company. What can be seen in the background is that these two men have tried to get some benefit for themselves, and when they do not get it, they start using pressure as a tool.
From what we read in public as well as from the clumsy press release of the Director of the Health Fund, it is clear that the affair is far greater than we thought. As is stands, the development is very similar to the “Racket 1”, beginning with speculation and ending with crowning evidence.
This affair already shows a system of governing where racketeering was the rule, not the exception. A system that involves almost all ministers and directors, as well as senior officials in this current government. Corruption is simply a rule, not an exception for this government. Here I would like to mention that a lot of information comes to us as a political party. More and more people are encouraged and come to us with clues or evidence of criminal activity. After systematizing and fact-checking, we will present them to the public in order to initiate an investigation and show the government the direction to resignation and early elections. As we have seen, this power is so involved in crime that it cannot be compared to anything from the past. Their relaxed manners and self-confidence, as well as the lack of a common sense of governing a state, have taken them there – from politicians who have gained the confidence of the people to lead, to turning into criminals. They are now trying to retain power, and there is no agreement on public prosecution law in order not to take responsibility. But responsibility comes faster than they think.
At the same time, the economic situation is disastrous. This is because there is no vision for business support and development, with the increase in tax the already fragile Macedonian business is burdened, and with the racketeering we witness, successful companies lose their motivation to work. They are now entering a period of survival, waiting for better days, and more and more Macedonian firms are taking their capital out, as well as their investments. If there were information on how many Macedonian companies, and to what extent, they invest in Bulgaria, Serbia, Kosovo or Austria, as the four destinations that Macedonian capital is most likely to move, you will all be surprised.
Not to mention foreign investment. They are at a record low. According to official data between January-June of this year, they add up to only 55 million euros, by far the lowest in the region where billions are invested. That is the sad truth about Macedonia. At the moment, only those in Macedonia who pay bribes to the government work, and literally no one else!
Given all this, it is no wonder that the European Union refuses to give a clear date for the start of negotiations for the third time. Remember, last year there was talk – we should just settle the name dispute and we will start negotiations with the EU. June has passed, Macedonia did not get to negotiate. Then Zaev lied that we have received a date for negotiations and that happened in June this year. June went by, negotiations have not started yet again. Now there’s talk of October.
As things stand these days, Macedonia is far from starting negotiations with the EU this year and what the most optimistic one can expect is negotiations before negotiations, a new formula in which five European rule-of-law institutions form a team to handle the situation in Macedonia in the next one to two years, and only after that if it is all right, to start negotiations. It is a kind of judicial board that Macedonia would get, because with this government led by Zaev, corruption is booming and there is no will or institutional capacity to solve it. That is why it is necessary for outsiders to come and solve our problems.
That is why negotiations will not begin in December, not even next March, negotiations that have always been formally marked by a meeting between the candidate country’s government and the European Commission. We will not see this with Zaev’s government, which is another reason for him to leave as soon as possible. This is a new mechanism that the EU is introducing for the first time, and will only apply to Macedonia and Albania, with which our country will remain in the same group for a longer period of time. When I warned last year, it was considered science fiction according to the Government, today it is the harsh reality that the Government recognizes, but it is too late, because now no one wants to separate Macedonia from Albania. Because Zaev’s government is worse than Edi Rama’s. That is why the EU is struggling and is making up mechanisms as if to introduce some order. This government has no capacity to understand or apply it. Therefore, what we need is early elections as soon as possible, and the government should stop avoiding and hiding from them.

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