EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says she is worried about the situation in Macedonia (FYROM).

But speaking on Monday after a meeting of EU’s Foreign Affairs Council, Mogherini, who was on a tour of the Balkans last week, added that she was “trying to learn to move beyond the worries” and see the potential for solving Macedonia’s “institutional, political crisis.”

Asked by reporters whether she was concerned about the stability of the country, and about the discussions EU foreign ministers had on Monday on that topic, she replied:

“I will not obviously give details of what one minister or the other has said, but I can tell you that in general terms all the ministers were backing strongly the messages I have expressed in Skopje – by the way, that I expressed in my meetings, with the president, with all the political leaders but also publicly, not only on behalf of the European Union, but also on behalf of NATO secretary-general.”

“How worried I am? I am, but I am trying to learn to move beyond the worries and see the potential for solving institutional crisis, political crisis. I believe that what Skopje is facing today is still a political and an institutional crisis. My main worry is that this turns into an inter-ethnic crisis and this has been the main message I have passed to those who have political responsibility in the country: do not play with fire, do not turn this into an inter-ethnic confrontation that would ruin the country and probably spread further beyond,” Mogherini said.

She added that she “believes there are instruments”:

“First of all, the wisdom of the president (Gjorge Ivanov) and second, the capacity of the parliament to proceed for instance by electing a speaker I imagine, or unblocking the situation, so that this institutional and political crisis can be managed with the instruments that Skopje has, without interference.”

“It is only normal that friends care about the state of play and the future of partners,” said the EU official, and concluded:

“This is where we are; we believe that there are possibilities to come out of the institutional crisis, that resources to do that in Skopje exist and I have had a very frank, but also constructive exchange on this with all political leaders in the parliament and also with the President. So, I hope the wisdom will manage to prevail.”

B92

4 COMMENTS

  1. The fragmented mess of Yugoslavia and communism in the Balkans will not ethnically, geographically or socially mend itself in our generation.
    Albanians are indigenous to the Balkans which means they predate Slavic settlement there. As such they will always be looked at by the Slavic communities in a vulgar and derogatory way. Their Islamification which occurred under the Ottomans has now in a Christian landscape worked against them. Slavic Macedonians, Serbs and Greeks look down upon them. Greece has a method of controlling self determination and nationalist aspirations within our borders with a zero tolerance approach. Others like Macedonia have to play it diplomatically for they cannot afford to ruffle feathers. The Serbs have their problems compounded in Bosnia (Republika Srpska) and Kosovo (Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija). They are trying to conduct administration in fragmented territories that house their populations.
    On the surface its looks ridiculous that the breakup of Yugoslavia could cause such a devastating phenomena. It has.

    If anyone had said 20 years ago that there would be such a creature as a Montenegrin you would have laughed. They are Serbs and were always the proudest of Serbs. They have now become Montenegrins that don’t think they speak Yugoslav (Serbo-Croatian) but instead speak a new tongue called Montenegrin. I actually met a fool that claimed that Montenegrin was different. Are these Slavs on crack?
    Croats, Serbs, Montenegrins and Bosnians all speak the same language. They have the same DNA. The same culture. The same traditions. If someone had said to me 20 years ago that there would be a creature called a Bosnian I would have laughed at them. They now exist. Moslems on their Yugoslav passports and now they have an exclusive title as Bosnians. I wonder what the Moslems of Macedonia, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro call themselves now? Not Bosnians that’s for sure.

    The not so new creature the Macedonian has existed since 1991. What was a regional consciousness in 1946 under Tito has developed into an ethnicity via Gligarov. Prior to 1946 Macedonian Slavs had always identified as ethnic Bulgarians but were spiritually from Macedonia. The same can be said for the Albanians and Greeks of Macedonia. They identified ethnically with their race but spiritually with their territory.

    The Albanians have always been there. While they were within a Yugoslav Federation it wasn’t problematic. As soon as the place disintegrated the Albanian issue intensified. Milosevic and Karadzic didn’t help matters. Had the transition period to independence been handled slightly more sensitively by thinking people this mess that now exists in all the territories could have been avoided. Albanians in Kosovo did not want independence. They wanted the status quo. It was Serbia’s provocative ethnic cleansing that caused the break. Instead of embracing a multicultural framework and governing the place peacefully they went psycho. Apart from the Croats who were too right extreme from day one (ustashi rhetoric) and the Slovenes (what on earth were they doing there in the first place if one of Tito’s parents weren’t one) the country had no reason for war. Ethnically and linguistically homogenous with the exception of the Albanians.

    The Albanians have a high birth rate, much higher than their Slavic neighbors. In Greece we don’t care how many children they have because they are schooled in Greek schools and are usually baptized. Their Albanian heritage is fairly watered down after a generation or two. In western Macedonia and Kosovo they have Albanian language lessons, Albanian consciousness and mosques. Athens does not have one active mosque yet. Additionally my observation of Albanians that have emigrated to Greece since 1989 is that they are people without religion. Islam isn’t practiced amongst the Albanians of Greece. Many have embraced Orthodoxy in order to fit in, whereas my travels through Kosovo and Macedonia I saw very religious Islam practicing Albanians. The Fez is quite prominent especially with the older men.

    The border shifts in the last two centuries have been happening around the Albanians and they have had to adapt. Their ethnicity has never been in question. Their consciousness has never been in question. The problem has always been living amongst the Slavs. Slavs have attempted to dominate where they are a majority. No one asked the Albanians if they wanted a star or vergina on their flag in Macedonia. No one asked the Albanians if they wanted a statue of Alexander the Great in Skopje. They might have opted for a two headed eagle or a Statue of Skanderbeg. They were never asked. The goal posts have moved considerably for the Albanians of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia both culturally and economically. The antiqization that has enveloped their country via Gruevski’s 2014 masterpiece has alienated them. Their quarter of the city remains run down and in decay. Instead of restoring their historical buildings and celebrating a unique multi ethnic history the ruling party has built grotesque structures around them that has polarized the community. Slav identity and non Slav identity. The rhetoric that is coming out of Ivanov’s office is Slavic culture or no culture. They will be far more united and militant in the face of rejection. The Albanian political parties never got on. They do now because of one reason.

    It’s sad that the Balkans have become messy. I still have fond memories of 1985 as a 19 year old travelling through Yugoslavia when everyone got on and everyone used to tearfully sings folkloric songs and drink copious amounts of raki. Those days are gone but the Albanians are still there. They should be respected and any ethnic negotiations should be handled with care for their consciousness and ethnicity is unique.

  2. On the Albanian issue you miss a very important issue. What is a gheg and what is a tosk. Which was bought in and assimilated with the remnants of Slavs and Vlahs left after the ottomans occupied the area, which was already there. The ottomon census shows you the landscape, ethnicity wise.

    On the Slav Macedonian issue, in 1925 this etnic landscape transformed considerably. The Slavs/Serbs/Bulgars/Macedonians were firmly rooted all the way down to Salonika. Turk/Greek population transfers forced Serbs from the eastern Macedonian areas to colonise Vojvodina, Macedonians moved to vacated areas in Yugoslav Macedonia. Turkish Serbian agreement to take back Albanians re tosks failed over a squabble of who would pay for the train ride.

    Instead we have the Balkans used as a chessboard, every external power exerting its philosophy its engineering to the point we have the mess today. We Serbs are at fault too, in defining our identity one must be of the orthodox faith, to the point we assisted in the separation. Those Croats who celebrate Slava, Bosnians because they are derogitised as non Serbs etc.

    Balkan history changes more times than the wind, ask the British and the west who tinker with it to serve their interests. Kosovo and the myth of indigenous Albanians is only supported because of the mistake of not having a western base of operations there after ww2.

  3. [email protected]

    It’s all Grueski’s fault.

  4. Skopje? You call Republic of Macedonia Skopje? You should be on trial for degradation of an entire country/nation, stripped of your immunity and brought before the international court. You have no authority whatsoever to create, abduct or disown nations and award identities. Sick beyond belief. New crime against humanity

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