Who needs Macron in Macedonia?

Slobodanka Jovanovska

Who needs Emmanuel Macron in Macedonia? Why would anyone, except Hristijan Mickoski, accept a meeting with the president of the country that shattered all of the nation’s hopes and a 25-year investment in the European future? Why would any of the incumbents agree to meet with the French leader now after vetoing our country in Brussels, after months of hiding and refusing to meet, so the level we have reached is 32-year-old expert on EU strategy Amélie de Montchalin? Why would anyone ever talk to a leader of a country that the only thing it’s been working on for the past two years was how to prevent Macedonia from getting a hollow date for EU accession talks, when we all knew the membership train was long gone? Why would anyone at all allow the citizens to hear the humiliations of the French President who allowed himself to veto us, and has no idea what is happening, or what our country looks like, because he has never set foot on our territory? He even has ambitions to send us phony strategies and create scenarios for some of our future relations with the European Union and with each other in the region, to deceive us with some non-existent French investment, and even hint at a possible lifting of the visa regime because the citizens of Albania (it’s just a matter of time before he adds Macedonia here if he needs it for the purposes of winning the election) massively fleeing the country to which he put an end on EU integration?

Such dilemmas arise after Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said that if he wanted to visit, Macron would be welcome in the country. Such an opinion, judging by the reactions, is not shared by at least half of Macedonia, all the more so that we all know what the purpose of his visit would be (to sell us the story that he is in fact in favor of Macedonia’s European perspective), thus only reassuring us that each day, not just a month or a year, spent waiting for his promises to come true, was a waste of time and self-confidence. Therefore, Macron should be told that he is not welcome, that his words are just a prolongation of our frustration, and that we prefer to preserve our impressions of some former French leaders who had bigger morals and more sense of our country. And then let’s put a clear border between France, the French people and this malicious politics towards Macedonia by French President Emmanuel Macron.

And instead of visiting, it would be much better if Macron from Paris explained why the ratification of our NATO accession protocol was so prolonged. How did that happen, to be dragged on for months, and on the very day he was preparing to veto our country, the protocol was approved in the French Senate and announced that it would be on the agenda of Parliament? Would he let us know if it is a coincidence that just France and the Netherlands, the two countries that had the greatest reserves for enlargement, are still dragging the ratification of our accession to the alliance, while another 24 countries have already done so. They should tell us how we can now trust their word, when the Prespa Agreement that opened our NATO accession has been multiplied by zero, just like the conclusion of June last year that they will give us a date in June 2019, just to tell us that they will come back to this issue before May, and not to our negotiations – but to enlargement in general? They will be discussing nonsense on high level.

And the consequences, not of rejecting enlargement, but of manipulating Macedonia’s situation and prospects, are already great. Not only did he overthrow our government, not only did he bring the regime back that was dismantled by months of protests and street revolution, not only did he open the door to the fall of the Prespa Agreement, he also jeopardized our guaranteed NATO accession. No foreign leader has done so much damage to Macedonia to this date, including those behind the April 27 coup attempt. Signals of this have already come, from the rise of Turkish President Tayyip Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s branches that have been raging for several days with press conferences and other activities, to the announcement by VMRO-DPMNE that it will annul the Prespa Agreement if it comes to power. Who in such circumstances would complete Macedonia’s accession, if they expect any future government to at least not sign the agreement which will have North Macedonia written on it? The silence of newly-elected Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, whose voice has not been heard throughout the summit in Brussels, also does not support the ambiguity awaiting the country’s second strategic goal.

From this point of view, it is also clear why, for the first time since Colin Powell’s visit to Stenkovec, the first US diplomat Mike Pompeo came unannounced and seemingly without any occasion. He knew what was going to happen to our EU date and how it might affect our NATO membership, so he hurried to send a signal to everyone who wants to capitalize on the new uncertainty surrounding our country, created by the immature and short-sighted politics of one fictitious leader of the European Union. Macedonia has suffered so much damage by Macron that he needs to be told loud and clear that he should neither come, nor invite him to the next pointless summit with the Western Balkans.