Thursday, December 10, 2009

EU Membership for Skopje postponed over Macedonian name dispute

According to Bulgaria’s largest English-language news provider, Sofia News Agency, “The EU has decided to postpone announcing a date for the start of the accession talks of FYROM through a compromise designed to avoid a Greek veto over the so called name dispute”, despite pressure from Brussels to open accession talks. This decision has allowed for the postponement of the issue of Skopje’s membership until the upcoming Spanish EU presidency in 2010. In an act of solidarity, France officially supported Greece on the fact that only when a solution to the name issue is found, should negotiations with Skopje open on EU membership.

Macedonist Radicals in Skopje such as Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, reacted to the EU’s decision by saying, “Greece has already done a big political damage and history will prove this. But we will not be broken by injustice”. President Gorge Ivanov joined Gruevski by launching a verbal attack on the EU for its decision saying, “We will not cave under any pressure to change our name or identity just to be a part of the European Union”. President Ivanov would go on to say that, “We have a European perspective that will be achieved together, with the support of all ethnic and religious communities, all parties and all citizens of FYROM”

President Ivanov’s call of unity amongst citizens, came at the same time that opposition parties in Skopje ‘accused the government of not putting enough effort into resolving the name dispute, thus missing a chance at the Brussels meeting to remove the final obstacle to the Country’s two strategic goals, the EU and NATO membership’, as reported by the official Chinese press agency, Xinhua. Adding to President Ivanov’s detachment from reality came from Menduh Thaci, leader of the Democratic Party of Albanians. The Sofia News Agency announced the Thaci had released a statement on Alsat, the Albanian TV station from Skopje saying, “If the agreement that was developed by the DPA is not confirmed between Slavs and Albanians, there will be neither a Macedonian nation nor a Macedonian people”. The article continued to state that “according to Thaci, if discrimination against young Albanians continues in the Skopje, there is a distinct possibility of renewed conflict between Albanians and Slavs”.

When asked about the ongoing name dispute, Thaci commented on the Slavs identity saying that, ‘if their most recent history is removed, they will identify themselves as either Bulgarians or Serbs”. He went on the state the only future Skopje has is as a ‘multi-national state’. Confirming that the only real solution to the issue of FYROM remains the same 3 legitimate proposals that have existed since 1991, (a) the acceptance by Macedonist of the Hellenic character of Macedonia and adoption of Hellenism, (b) the acceptance of a name without the word Macedonia, instead accepting a name better fit to describe the multi-ethnic nature of the republic or (c) the dismemberment of Skopje between Albania, Bulgaria and Greece.