by | 17 May, 2024

The adjective “North” is a problem for you? Then choose what’s more important to you: the name, the language or the nation.

1 The glory of our new president, Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova, was short-lived. It lasted only three or four hours. The same statesmen, diplomats and officials who had previously congratulated her on becoming the first woman president of the Republic of North Macedonia soon sent messages that they’re worried, disappointed and upset because, during her oath of office, she didn’t use the constitutional name of the Republic of North Macedonia.

I don’t believe the president is that naïve that she couldn’t anticipate that her decision to avoid using the constitutional name of our state during giving her oath would cause an avalanche of reactions from EU member states. Reactions also came from the USA, which, after 27 years, managed to resolve our dispute with Greece through the Prespa Agreement, ensuring stability at least in this part of the region. I doubt the president of VMRO-DPMNE, Hristijan Mickoski, who nominated the professor from the Faculty of Law in Skopje, doesn’t know he’s dealing with well-organised states. So organised that they reacted immediately the moment the Greek ambassador demonstratively left the parliamentary session. That’s all it took. A Greek ambassador standing up from their chair.

As a matter of fact, Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova, as a candidate in the previous presidential elections, had already stated at the first rally on the 31st of March, 2019, in Ohrid: “There will be a responsible president, there will be a responsible parliament that will respect the opposition, with true statesmanlike behaviour, there will be a new composition at the Constitutional Court that will defend the Constitution. When that day comes, we will protect the name with a clause stating the name can’t be changed, with a single amendment to the constitution, an important change.”

And just like that, the president started the first day of her mandate with an international scandal.

It’s a pity. She’s already wasting her days, despite both her and the party that nominated her promising to change the negotiating framework for the EU. They also promised to revise the Treaty on Good Neighbourly Relations with Bulgaria. Instead of having Greece as an ally in the EU accession process, since it hasn’t blocked our EU path since the Prespa agreement was signed, they immediately rubbed Greece the wrong way. They got busy cleaning last year’s snow. And they’re starting a fire where a forest has already started to grow.

2 It seems we’ll once again waste our time, energy and resources in a battle in which Greece will remain unscathed while we continue to lose. Simply because both Siljanovska-Davkova and Mickoski made promises they cannot fulfil. They have nothing to offer in international politics, so now they will resort to firing us up with populism.

Only VMRO-DPMNE will benefit from populism. We remember the period after Greece’s veto on our NATO membership in 2008, when Nikola Gruevski robbed and captured the country in the name of patriotism. Among the current leadership of VMRO-DPMNE, there are people who remember well how they profited in 2008. It would be naïve to think they’ve forgotten the personal gains they had from all that disarray.

3 I also don’t believe Mickoski didn’t understand the subtle message from Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis that he personally disagrees with the Prespa Agreement, “especially with the terms ‘Macedonian nation’ and ‘Macedonian language,’ but accepted the Agreement “in line with the continuity of the state and recognised the fact that despite his disagreement, he has to respect it.”

The biggest benefit of the Prespa agreement, besides admission to NATO, was precisely the recognition of the Macedonian nation and the Macedonian language. Now, what Mitsotakis is saying sounds something like this: You want to fight? The adjective “North” is a problem for you? Then choose what’s more important to you: the name, the language, or the nation? By the way, all three don’t come as a package. It’s a done deal, certified in the UN.

In that case, let’s bring back FYROM. Then we’ll have to negotiate for another 50 years for the term Macedonia. The Americans will send us a new Nimetz. And we’ll dig out the slips of paper stamped by the Greeks instead of our passports when crossing the border.

And Mickoski’s response is – I don’t like it, you don’t like it, let’s take it to court. Which court? The one in The Hague where Macedonia won the verdict against Greene in 2011 for violating the Interim Agreement of 1995 when it vetoed our NATO membership.

Justice is on our side. The dispute was pointless. But the negotiations were done with the backing of the UN. It’s perfectly clear to Mickoski that justice favours the stronger, might is right. But he wouldn’t have it any other way, because our memories are still fresh about what the benefit was and how much the benefit was for the party bosses of VMRO-DPMNE while we were blocked and isolated.

4 There is also no justice in what the EU did to us by supporting Bulgaria’s veto on Macedonia, which essentially revolves around not recognising the Macedonian language and the Macedonian nation – identity, which is the cornerstone of the Prespa Agreement. If the EU had delivered on the promised start of the accession talks after the Prespa Agreement, this topic would have been resolved and VMRO-DPMNE wouldn’t be able to milk it anymore. It would have been history. Or, as Mitsotakis would put it, “in line with the continuity of the state.”

5 Hristijan Mickoski stated that although the Republic of Macedonia has been replaced by the new constitutional name in the institutions and documents, he will continue to omit “North.” He says: “When I release statements or address you personally, I expect President Siljanovska to act the same way.”

In her inaugural speech, the president thanked the mathematician Mickoski twice, saying that if it wasn’t for him, she wouldn’t have been elected. Since in the same speech she emphasised the power of women in politics, the knight Mickoski couldn’t resist boasting what about what he expects from her.

You’re a woman, you should listen to me. Everyone knows who’s in charge in this house.

6 They put on a brave face back home, they don’t give a damn about the EU, because even EU officials don’t know which way they’ll go after the June elections for the European Parliament, but I really want to know how brave the heroes from the VMRO government will be when they show up at NATO. July is just around the corner, there’ll be a Summit in Washington to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Alliance. 32 heads of state and government leaders will gather there. Our president, Siljanovska-Davkova, will be among them, of course, if Mickoski let’s her leave the house. Perhaps while there, she’ll manage to make Mitsotakis stand up from his chair, just as she provoked the Greek ambassador in Skopje. Imagine if she ruins the Americans’ birthday party.

One of the memoranda that Greece has to ratify in the Parliament as an obligation of the Prespa Agreement is the agreement to guard Macedonian skies with planes of the Greek Air Force. I believe that VMRO-DPMNE has already provided Siljanovska with smart people to advise her, so maybe they’ll get the bright idea of asking for our skies to be guarded by Turkish planes instead of Greek ones.

When you ride the wave of populism, you’ll get countless brilliant ideas. Despite winning so many votes and having a comfortable majority in the Parliament, instead of addressing the problems for which they were elected, they’re diverting our attention with issues that have already been resolved.


Translated by Nikola Gjelincheski