by | 18 August, 2023

There is an alternative no one offers – the alternative is honest governance.

1 Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski says that the proposal to change the Constitution has only one motive: entry into the EU. There’s nothing to get worked up about when he says that “That is what the vast majority of citizens in the country demands and expects.” That’s right. However, the vast majority expects the government not to hide its incompetence and dishonesty behind the EU.

I can no longer bear listening to government officials recite romantic poetry about the EU. We’re all in favour of the EU. We’ve been dreaming about the EU for thirty years. I’ve dedicated my entire working life fighting for the EU. I chose to stay in Macedonia because I believed that one day, if not me, then my children would live in the EU and still be home. I’ve never been angry with the EU when it scolded us for corruption, problems in the judiciary, healthcare, ecology, administration, human rights, market economy, customs, police, media… And all this time I’ve behaved according to EU standards, even before we became an EU candidate – I pay tax, pension and health contributions, I pay fines for traffic violations, I regularly pay my utility bills for electricity and water, I don’t throw rubbish on the street, I don’t spit on the pavement, I don’t park in spots designated for the disabled, I don’t park on the third lane of the boulevard to watch my car while I’m having a cup of coffee, I embrace diversity, be it ethnic, religious or sexual, I respect the right to self-determination, I greet my neighbours, I don’t wave flags of other countries, I stand solemnly during the national anthem…

And to be honest, it makes me sick when I hear how casually our government and the EU representatives tell us that our good future depends on changing our Constitution.

2 I wonder what goes through the minds of the prime minister, deputy prime ministers, and ministers when they share photos of themselves with foreign ambassadors and say in the post that “The citizens want a legal state”? As if someone prevented them from creating a legal state all this time. As if someone will prevent them from creating a legal state with or without Bulgarians in the Constitution.

What? We won’t have a legal state while we’re waiting to join the EU?

Do they take us for fools when they write: There is no alternative for the EU? As if someone could uproot this piece of land in the Balkans and take it from Europe to Siberia.

It’s not that there’s no alternative. There’s an alternative no one offers. The alternative is honest governance. And what are they doing in a situation when we find ourselves backed into a corner? They’re scaring us with isolation and telling us that this is a historic moment and that time is of the essence to use the last chance, while they’re plundering whatever remains to be plundered. Since, not a single chance to plunder must be last or missed, especially now when the end of their mandate is near.

And let’s put an end to this discussion whether there is or there isn’t an alternative.

3 This government had a historic chance to bring that alternative after the 11 years of criminal rule by VMRO-DPMNE. How great the enthusiasm was when they were brought to power, how strong the wave of support by the citizens, how profound the hope, everything will be all right now, we’ve got rid of the bandits… Ok, let’s not debate about how qualified or how skilful someone was, that’s the staff that’s remained in the parties. But at least they could have been honest. Unfortunately, they didn’t rise to the challenge of ensuring good and honest governance.

And now, Prime Minister Kovachevski tells us that the Constitution should be changed because young people are leaving the country. Well, that’s perfectly understandable. Do you really expect them to wait for you to fill the party quotas first? Both in terms of employment and business opportunities. They’re leaving because instead of delivering justice for all, you delivered theft and impunity. They’re leaving because there’s no predictability here, they can’t plan their lives if they don’t have ties with a party. They’re leaving because you haven’t provided them with a good country, not because we’re not part of the EU.

Our better future depends on good governance, not on whether we change our Constitution or not.

Finally, why would all of us bear responsibility if the constitutional amendments aren’t passed and Macedonia doesn’t start the accession talks with the EU? If we’re expected to share the responsibility with the government that’s promised something it can’t fulfil, then let’s share the money from the commission of the tenders and the public procurements with immediate agreements and the profits of the companies set up during their time in power. We can’t share just the responsibility. If we’re expected to share, let’s share everything.

Seriously, why are we held responsible?  Is it because we’re not Bulgarians? Or is it because we’ve been disappointed by the EU, which almost eighty years after the victory over fascism, amidst civilized Europe, in the 21st century, has accepted the profoundly uncivilized discussion about what Macedonians were before they became Macedonians, and even put it in the negotiation framework? Or should we be held responsible for our lack of trust in our political elites, both in the government and the opposition, which had 30 years to bring the EU home, at least in terms of behaviour, if not standards, and failed.

They’re the ones who should be held responsible. Our responsibility ended the moment we elected them.

Translated by Nikola Gjelincheski