Solana: Prespa Agreement offers a viable model for addressing disputes elsewhere

Javier Solana, the former EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, in the op-ed published on the Project Syndicate website refers to the upcoming referendum on name agreement and the importance of this agreement in resolving other bilateral disputes.

“The Prespa Agreement offers a viable model for addressing disputes elsewhere, because it embodies a holistic conflict-resolution approach based on the promise of mutually shared long-term benefits. For example, one of its articles namely Article 15 states that, “In the age of the new industrial revolution […] the deepening of cooperation amongst States and societies is necessary now more than ever, in particular with respect to social activities, technologies, and culture,” Solana writes.

“This statement by long-feuding parties is an inspiration for a region that remains entangled in stalemated disputes over ethnic and national identities. The Balkans – and not only the Balkans – are in need of a new narrative based on people’s real priorities, which is precisely what the Prespa Agreement provides,” Solana underlines.

Solana also mentions the disputes between Kosovo and Serbia as well as political tensions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska.

“But if the Prespa Agreement shows anything, it is that no conflict is unsolvable when diplomatic creativity and political will are brought to bear. If the coming crucial weeks end well, a region that was ravaged by nationalism at the end of the last century could now defy today’s global lurch toward chauvinism,” Solana points out.

“At a time when so many countries seem intent on building walls, it would be ironic and deeply gratifying to see the Balkans build bridges,” Solana adds.

Solana also greets the boldness and responsible leadership of the Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras in order to conclude the agreement. “Both have had to expend a great deal of political capital, confronting domestic nationalist forces and facing down no-confidence motions spearheaded by opposition parties,” Solana writes.