• Monday, 15 July 2024

Serwer: European Union best direction for Macedonia 

Serwer: European Union best direction for Macedonia 

Washington, 10 May 2024 (MIA) - In a statement for MIA after the convincing victory of right-wing VMRO-DPMNE and its presidential candidate Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova at the May 8 double elections in North Macedonia, Professor Daniel Serwer, an expert on the Balkans, says the European Union is the best direction for the country.  

Serwer, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, believes that a failure to settle the issue with Bulgaria and thereby delay EU membership won’t help the VMRO-DPMNE government at the next elections.

“The best direction for Macedonia is the European Union. I don’t see an alternative that would provide a better standard of living, more freedom of expression, or increased security,” Serwer notes.

In his comment, Serwer touches upon the Prespa Agreement, describing it as a good agreement “that recognized the essential interests of the two parties”.

Asked about Russian influence in the region and whether he sees any threats to the Prespa Agreement, Serwer says he sees “no threats, only opportunities”.

“The threat comes from people who want to reject it and throw Macedonia back into uncertainty. There is also a threat of Russian influence, as Moscow is prepared to encourage those who prioritize ethnonationalist loyalties and strife rather than inter-ethnic cooperation and loyalty to the state,” he says.

The future government will also be faced with the challenge of Bulgaria’s demand for constitutional changes, which VMRO-DPMNE opposes.

“I prefer constitutions that don’t name ethnic groups. I regard the Bulgarian demand for constitutional recognition as excessive. But Skopje needs to seek an agreement with Sofia that will enable North Macedonia to continue to progress towards the EU,” Serwer says.

According to the US expert, all EU candidates are faced with such a sad fate – “the existing Member States have great leverage over any outstanding bilateral issues,” but, he adds, “whatever is agreed with Sofia will be a small price to pay for the advantages of EU membership.”

“Sofia and Skopje have much more reason to cooperate than to fight. I hope VMRO-DPMNE recognizes that and looks for a solution rather than for continued friction,” notes Serwer.

Photo: MIA