According to the writers’s report, the change of government in June created a chance for the country to make a turn after many years of being a captured state and to resolve disputes with its neighbors.
On the scale from 1 to 7, where the number one is the best score and the number seven marks the lowest level of democratic progress, Macedonia received 4 for the election process, 3.25 for civil society, 5 for independence of the media, 5 for state democratic governance, 4.75, for local democratic governance 4, for judicial frameworks and independence 4.75, and for corruption 5.25.
According to the report, the biggest opportunity for a democratic breakthrough in Europe today is exactly Macedonia, which is included in the category “Transitional government or hybrid regime”.
According to the report, there is a big oppurtunity for a democratic breakthrough in Europe today in Macedonia, which is included in the category “Transition government or hybrid regime”.
“The most promising chance for a democratic breakthrough in Europe today is in Macedonia. Although the country is small, the opportunity is big: Success in Macedonia would mean breaking up a decade of state capture and peacefully resolving bilateral disputes that have held back political and economic progress in the region. In Nations in Transit 2018, Macedonia recorded its first score improvements since 2010, ending seven straight years of decline,” said the report.
By giving a brief overview of the development of political events in Macedonia since 2014, when SDSM and the joint opposition started the boycott of top state bodies, Freedom House said that the decommissioning of the captured state began, but there are still major challenges ahead of the country such as resolving the name dispute with Greece.
“The new government is strongly committed to breaking up the state capture that VMRO-DPMNE had accomplished. The first key to success for the SDSM-led coalition is to resolve the name dispute with Greece, which would unlock the path to EU and NATO membership and provide a tremendous international boost to the government. While the EU has been very supportive of the government, its hands are tied until Greece drops its objections to officially opening the accession process. The Macedonian government is making a hard push for a resolution, and the Greek government has reciprocated with a number of positive statements.
If the name dispute is resolved, then the hard work begins. Breaking down the VMRO-DPMNE’s many years of investment in patronage networks will be difficult for the new coalition—and doing so without engaging in abuses of its own will be even harder. At this moment, the new government deserves strong support from the United States and the EU, including pressure on Greece to resolve the name dispute and commitments to assist with the painful process of rolling back state capture,” said the report.
This year’s report saw the highest number of downward movements in its 23-year history, or the average democratic index of 19 of the 29 countries fell in relation to the year before.