Time for rationality, change and work

Aleksandar Nikoloski

Two exciting weeks of great changes and challenges for Macedonia are behind us. On the one hand, the policy of not reforming inside the country and selling stories outside has faced the reality that it won’t pass in the EU, on the other it must have political responsibility and this is why Zaev’s government is falling and we are going to the polls. Let me be more direct – the main reason why there is no date for opening EU negotiations is the low level of reforms, as well as putting Macedonia in the same group with Albania. For these two things I have devoted at least a dozen columns to the pages of Nezavisen Vesnik, in which I have warned and called for taking those warnings seriously. I warned that there will be no date in June 2018, June 2019, or October 2019 unless reforms are made that mean better living conditions for citizens, and if Macedonia does not exit the group with Albania. Zaev and Dimitrov decided to ignore it and that is why we are where we are today. Macedonia absolutely has a European future and can, and should, start negotiations with the European Union. A new and responsible Government can do that.
This past weekend, the fall of Zoran Zaev was practically announced. He is history in the Republic of Macedonia and his political career is over, his name will be written in the darkest pages of the country’s history. Macedonia needs those pages of history to be written so that future generations remember how it should not be done. Zaev, in fact, is an example of how a high-ranking politician can destroy something created for decades. He is also an example of how enormous international support can be wasted because of petty lucrative interests, crime and corruption.
From this it is clear that many citizens are disappointed and angry, and they should be. Simply put, they must not be victims of this government’s incompetence. But the harsh truth is that the EU is judging countries, primarily by the performance of governments. Zaev’s government has catastrophically incompetent diplomacy, because with the changed name, the damaging treaty with Bulgaria, and all the national concessions they made they cannot get a date for negotiations, let alone start accession negotiations with the European Union.
What was Zoran Zaev doing this past year and a half? What were Zaev and Nikola Dimitrov supposed to do? They didn’t have to get off the plane. They were supposed to go from one capital to another, and meet virtually everyone who will receive and listen to them, and beg them to separate Macedonia from Albania. Macedonia’s staying in the same package with Albania is also detrimental to Macedonia’s territorial integrity and jeopardizes the security of the borders. Do you think that France would have been so opposed if there was no affair in Macedonia involving bags full of cash, if there was no “Racket 2” affair in which the Minister of Health and the Director of the Health Fund demanded half of the private business firm, if we didn’t have so many scandals in almost every department, in every ministry.
This raises the question of both the political alternatives and VMRO-DPMNE’s offer. In the past 22 months as a leadership we have shown that we know and can change both conceptually and in staffing, we have shown that we know how to be responsible to the state. We must shift that spirit into the institutions and the running of the country. VMRO-DPMNE can offer a team of capable and dedicated people and try to start accession negotiations for joining the EU as soon as next year so that we don’t lose yet another year.
The European Union wants to see a democratic state, thriving within its borders. That can and must be Macedonia. The plan that we are preparing and offering to the public is to get a date in 2020, to start negotiations and to complete them with a good strategy in 5 years to reach 2025 as a deadline year given to Serbia and Montenegro. It is the year that should be the next enlargement of the EU that we must reach. It is possible with a capable government. We politicians should not be emotional, unlike citizens who are emotional on the issue of not getting a date, but look at things rationally and find solutions, to offer a way out and a lot of work that I am confident will bring results. SDSM wastes time dealing with us, claiming that we are glad and happy about not getting a date, and that is not the case. On the contrary, we would be very happy to have a date for the start of negotiations, and the citizens not to be victims of Zoran Zaev’s inability, but unfortunately that is not the case. As I mentioned before, in the end the EU mostly rates each country according to its government.
Now we have to work and unite to rebuild Macedonia, because the citizens deserve to have their dignity restored first, then to restore it economically and to live better and more prosperously here in Macedonia.
There is no time to grieve, it takes a long time to work and bring results with a clear and firm position that EU integration has no alternative to Macedonia! Any other idea or proposal for other alliances, whether regional or global, is against Macedonia’s interests and may even pose a threat to the country’s territorial integrity. Our path is clear and we must stay on it. A lot of hard work and honest people in order to start EU accession negotiations and try to become a member of the European Union by 2025.

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