Ending the Crisis in Macedonia: Who Is in the Driver’s Seat?

On April 4, in the premises of the Embassy of Netherlands in Macedonia, the European Fund for the Balkans and the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG) organized an informal discussion for the EU representatives and diplomats, dedicated to the latest BiEPAG policy brief ‘Ending the Crisis in Macedonia: Who Is in the Driver’s Seat?’.

The discussants were Mr. Nikola Dimitrov (Distinguished Fellow, The Hague Institute of Global Justice, the Netherlands, BiEPAG member), and Ms. Ivana Jordanovska. Both, in addition to Ms. Ivana Jordanovska, are the authors of the latest BiEPAG Brief “Ending the Crisis in Macedonia: Who Is in the Driver’s Seat?”

The Macedonian Centre for European Training hosted a briefing with the media on Tuesday, 5 April, and the European Policy Institute hosted a roundtable where the policy proposals in the brief were discussed with 14 think tanks and NGOs.

From the policy brief:

Macedonia has been a successful example of international crisis prevention. First it was the unprecedented UN preventive deployment in the 1990s, and then it was the preventive diplomacy and close coordination between the EU and NATO that helped avoid a civil war in 2001. Now the risk is that Macedonia will become a failed case of international prevention. “Paradoxically, the EU’s record is worst in the country where the union achieved its greatest success”, wrote Stefan Lehne.

If 10 years ago Macedonia was a front-runner in the reform process, today it struggles to stop moving backwards on virtually every single political criterion for EU membership. It is sadly the most devastating case against the credibility of the EU’s enlargement policy; a country where the transformative effect has indeed made a difference, but in the wrong direction. A candidate country for membership since 2005, Macedonia has received six consecutive recommendations by the European Commission to open accession talks.

But the doors to the most transformative stage of the integration process – the accession negotiations – were and remain blocked by Greece, due to an on-going dispute over the use of the name Macedonia. This blockage on Macedonia’s path toward Europe has taken the incentives for reform out of the political equation and created a sense of disillusionment with the EU, clearly contributing to the making of the biggest institutional crisis in the country since its independence.

For additional context and information about the policy brief:

About BiEPAG

The Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG) is a co-operation initiative of the European Fund for the Balkans (EFB) and Centre for the Southeast European Studies of the University of Graz (CSEES) with the aim to promote the European integration of the Western Balkans and the consolidation of democratic, open countries in the region. BiEPAG is composed by prominent policy researchers from the Western Balkans and wider Europe that have established themselves for their knowledge and understanding of the Western Balkans and the processes that shape the region

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