FYROM faces Domestic, International Problems in Joining EU

A quite interesting article by Skopje 24 Ore, 10 Sep 09 p 10

Commentary by Muhamer Pajaziti: “Will Brussels Compromise Principles for FYROMacedonia?”

FYROMacedonian Government representatives have recently announced with great enthusiasm and optimism that the EU will definitely recommend the beginning of negotiations on the country’s membership in this supranational organization.

This is nothing new because this government has deceived the public several times by stressing that Euro-Atlantic integrations are its priorities and that only small formalities remain for the country to conclude all the reforms recommended by the European Commission. If this were true, it would be a very good outcome for FYROMacedonia and its citizens, who have been listening on television for the past 15 years about the integration and the benefits it will bring. According to Milososki and Gruevski, the EU has decided to compromise its principles and basic criteria — the so-called EU standards or the Copenhagen criteria — for the admission of new countries. These criteria include stable democracy and institutions, rule of law, multi-party system, and protection of human and minority rights. They also include a functioning and competitive market economy and ability to assume the tasks and obligations set by the EU.

Internal Problems

In light of the aforementioned conditions, the question is what FYROMacedonia’s current status on its path to the EU is. If we have in mind true EU standards and values, then we can say that FYROMacedonia is disqualified from the outset. This country still discriminates against and segregates its non-SlavoMacedonian citizens in education and employment. Students belonging to the Albanian community and other non-SlavoMacedonian communities continue to attend classes in basements and hangars. In this country, prisoners are still kept in chains in inhumane conditions, whereas citizens report incidents of police violence and terror on a daily basis. The Oher [Ohrid] Accord has disappeared from the state archives and there is no mention of its implementation because figures and statistics show that Albanians are not represented adequately in state institutions, whereas ethnic tensions are growing by the day. The country has approved a series of laws that conform to the European legislation acquis communitaire, but they are not being implemented. Their implementation will not happen as long as we have an irresponsible political elite with nationalistic ideas.
Judiciary and administration will continue to be controlled by politics, like in a dictatorship where opponents and innocent people are eliminated through rigged trials. The country faces other problems, which have been noted in reports by relevant international organizations, such as Amnesty International, Freedom House, IGFM, Council of Europe, Helsinki Committee, and many other organizations, which continue to raise the alarm about the violations and anomalies in this country.

External Problems

The EU’s legal regulations allow its members to set conditions on the admission of a particular country. In short, the admission of a new member is made by consensus. This is the second hurdle for the FYROMacedonian Government, which has undermined the relations with all neighboring countries as a result of its destructive policies, such as with Bulgaria, Greece, and Kosova [Kosovo], but not with Serbia, with which it works day and night to strengthen relations. Open issues and bilateral disputes will have a direct effect on Brussels to keep its doors closed for a while longer. The deterioration of relations with neighbors could lead to a double veto by Greece and Bulgaria, whereas in a near future — if the discrimination against Albanians and their humiliation continues — the third veto could come from Albania, which has so far been reserved in this respect.

On the other hand, Kosova could take action to stop the import of FYROMacedonian goods, if this country decides not to establish diplomatic relations at the embassy level.

EU’s Exceptions and Political Decisions

The recent actions of the EU institutions, as far as EU enlargement is concerned, have increasingly discredited the principles and basic rules for the admission of new members. Brussels is often making politically motivated decisions in the case of certain countries, thus ignoring its own admission standards and principles. This was evident in the case of Romania and Bulgaria, which had not met the admission conditions and had a living standard of similar level to Turkey and other Balkan countries. Living standard in Turkey is at the level of about 20% of the EU average, which is the same as the living standard in Bulgaria and Romania.

Another example is the annulment of visas for Serbian citizens and, at the same time, isolation of Albanians, that is, of Kosova and Albania. A large number of foreign analysts have criticized this decision, describing it as a reward for Serbia for the genocide committed in Kosova and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Shkup’s Chances

FYROMacedonia’s relations with the EU date back to the nineties and many contractual and political agreements have been signed to date. But, FYROMacedonia has always failed to abide by them. Even though four years have passed since it gained the status of a candidate country, there is little hope of integration in the European family. Even if the country begins accession talks, they could go on for years and could be derailed as a result of pressure from Athens or Sofia. Another significant problem is the ratification of the Lisbon treaty, without which the enlargement process will not continue.

Sent by AMAC

[The Terms “SlavoMacedonian”, “FYROMacedonia” and its derivatives are used solely by the Blog and not by the author]

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