Kacin: Macedonia – Greece compromise should be carefully studied in the region

Skopje, 14 February, 2019 - 15:13 (META) 

Without solving of all bilateral disputes, there will be no further enlargement in the region of Western Balkans, said Jelko Kacin in a statement for “European Western Balkans”, who is the Permanent Representative of Slovenia to NATO and former Rapporteur for Serbia and Montenegro in the European Parliament.

The decision of the Republic of North Macedonia to change its name is a result of historical political agreement, he emphasized.

“It is a political compromise that should be carefully studied by other states in the region who didn’t yet solve their bilateral problems with neighbors that occurred after dissolution of the former Yugoslavia”, he said.

Albania to ratify Macedonia’s NATO membership protocol tomorrow

Tirana, 13 February, 2019 - 15:16 (META) 

Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi will pay a working visit to the Republic of Albania today.

The parliamentary press service informs that Xhaferi will attend the next plenary session of the Assembly of the Republic of Albania, where the Protocol for Membership of the Republic of Macedonia to NATO will be ratified.

Yesterday, the State Council of the Republic of Slovenia ratified the Protocol for Macedonia’s accession to NATO at an extraordinary session. With that, Slovenia became the second member of the Alliance, which after Greece ratified the NATO Accession Protocol.

Constitutional changes come into force, from yesterday we are North Macedonia

Skopje, 13 February, 2019 - 15:10 (META) 

Yesterday, the Prespa Agreement officially came into force and the implementation of its provisions began, with which Macedonia has changed its name to North Macedonia. The government also changed its name to the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia.

The Government explained that the Prespa Agreement was published in the “Official Gazette” yesterday, and the constitutional amendments from 33. to 36. as well as the Constitutional Law on their implementation are in force. Constitutional amendments were voted on over a month ago, on January 11.

One of the first things to happen will be the sign with the name “Republic of North Macedonia” at the “Bogorodica” border crossing. The ceremony will begin at 2 pm.

Slovenia ratified Macedonia’s NATO accession protocol

Ljubljana, 12 February, 2019 - 14:25 (META) 

At an extraordinary session, the Republic of Slovenia’s National Assembly ratified Macedonia’s accession protocol into NATO. With it, Slovenia became the second country member of the Alliance that ratified the NATO’s Accession Protocol.

During the voting process during the session, the President of the Macedonian Parliament, Talat Xhaferi addressed the attendees and expressed his gratitude in the name of the Parliament and the citizens of Macedonia. He also stressed that this act confirmed the friendly and principled relationship towards the citizens of our country,

According to Xhaferi, the signing of the Prespa Agreement and its adoption by the national parliaments is a so-called win-win situation, where all of us are at the same time winners and losers. He also expressed his hopes that by the end of this year, the Protocol will pass at the Parliaments of all 29 countries members of NATO. Xhaferi expects that this year the country will be given a date for the start of the EU accession negotiations.

According to sources, this Thursday, the Accession Protocol will be ratified by the Albanian Parliament. The Albanian media reported that Macedonia’s Accession Protocol was given a green light by the Legislative and Legal Affairs Committee and a session at the Parliament was scheduled for Thursday.

Macedonia – NATO: 11-year journey, paid with blood in Parliament and a new name

Skopje, 8 February, 2019 - 15:07 (META) 

“A historical date”, “a century-old dream come true”, “the greatest achievement since the independence of Macedonia” – these were only some of the comments about probably one of the three most important weeks and dates in Macedonia’s recent history. The first, of course, was the signing of the Prespa Agreement regarding the new name, the second was the vote on the constitutional changes (again for the new name), and the third was the signing of the Accession Protocol – a “seat at the NATO table”.

We should not be fooled by the speed with which we came to the stage from the signing of the agreement with Greece to coming very close to Macedonia becoming the 30th member of the largest military alliance in the world.

However, as in every battle, like this one, huge sacrifices must be made.

“No one asked me how I reached the required two-thirds majority in Parliament, from only 49 MPs after the elections.” This comment was made by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev on whether he had to make compromises. The man who everyone says was the drive behind all the changes in Macedonia managed to secure another 32 MPs on top of his own, to enact the law on amnesty which pardoned those who stormed the Parliament and injured his mouth and head. Additionally, he had to make concessions with opposition MPs to ensure the constitutional changes passed and open the way to the “road to NATO”.

Always looking to a higher goal, Zaev had to endure blows which were underhand and more of a danger than the physical blows then.

The general public is still recovering from all the shocks and is wondering whether the price that included the partial maneuvering of the state of law (and, nevertheless, to make everything to be in accordance with the law and with no interference in the judicial power) was not too high and in the long term, more dangerous for the country’s health.

NATO membership enjoys, unlike some other things, almost unison support from the citizens of the (not for long) Republic of Macedonia. The treaties with Bulgaria and Greece and the fast track to the EU are still encountering many opponents, but NATO and Union membership, as shown in the polls, have huge support in society and political parties in general.

There are also marginal parties (such as “United Macedonia” led by Janko Bachev, which is said to have direct influence from Russia) and individuals who support Moscow’s view that Macedonia is being forcefully pushed into NATO against the will of the people and that the constitution is being violated, but without much strength in their support.

NATO membership is part of Macedonia’s frustration since 2008 and the Alliance’s Summit in Bucharest when in the last minute, Greece blocked an almost ready membership invitation under the name Republic of Macedonia (Skopje). The Macedonian delegation returned with the heads hung low, as did the Americans, who, before the summit, believed that the Greek veto would not be realized.

Eleven years later, the country is on NATO’s doorstep as its 30th member under another name, with very different internal dynamics and relations and with another reality in its surrounding.

Kosachev: Macedonia’s accession to NATO will not bring anything good

Moscow, 7 February, 2019 - 15:14 (META) 

The Chairman of the Committee on International Relations of the Council of the Russian Federation, Konstantin Kosachev, has determined that Macedonia’s signing of the Accession Protocol for NATO is perhaps a symbolic act, but is important for the Alliance, given the growing conflict between the Alliance and Moscow.

“This is more of a symbolic step than a practical one, because it’s a small country that has no relevance to NATO. However, it is important for the Alliance, given the conflict with Russia, who constantly points to the destructive role of NATO as a remnant of the Cold War,” says Kosachev.

According to him, the whole case around Macedonia shows that Russian dissatisfaction with the Alliance is justified. It also points out that criticism of US President Donald Trump at the expense of NATO has played a key role.

“It has undoubtedly alarmed officials from the Alliance in Brussels, who are now doing everything to show Washington that NATO is doing well well and that it is expanding,” says Kosachev.

The Russian senator believes that joining NATO will not bring anything good to Macedonia, nor to European security.

Meeting of the Macedonian-Bulgarian Expert Committee scheduled for the 19th and the 20th of February

Skopje, 7 February, 2019 - 12:39 (META) 

The mixed Macedonian-Bulgarian Expert Committee for educational issues that was formed in accordance with the Good Neighborly Agreement will have meetings again on the 19th and the 20th of February in Skopje.

The representative of the Bulgarian part of the Committee, Angel Dimitrov, announced that he will talk about joint celebrations of persons and events from, as he said, our joint history.

In his statement for BTB, Dimitrov stressed that during the meeting he shall see whether the visit of the Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev on Monday was really a political sign of gratitude towards Bulgaria for the assistance and the cooperation on the road towards further rapprochements.

Macedonia achieves its decades long NATO ambition and sings accession Protocol

Brussels, 6 February, 2019 - 15:24 (META) 

After the signing of the Protocol for Macedonia’s accession to NATO by permanent representatives of member states in Brussels, today Macedonia became part of NATO, however, not as a full member. Until the ratification of the Protocol by parliaments of all the member states, the country will participate in all meetings, but without the right to vote and will not be able to participate in some meetings as further certification of the capacities is required.

At the ceremony that began at 11.02 am, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov entered the hall and both stated that this act comes after a long process and is serious progress for Macedonia and the stability in the region .

“The Prime Ministers of both countries, Zaev and Tsipras signed the Prespa Agreement last year, for long-term stability. It was the beginning of a long road that has brought us here. It hasn’t been easy time, there were challenges and compromises, but the decision to build cooperation brought real results. More stability in the region will bring stability to the wider community. We waited for a long time to receive you. You have been contributing to NATO for a long time. The signing of the Accession Protocol is the beginning of the ratification process and I hope it will be smooth and that we will receive you as a full member very soon,” Stoltenberg said.

Dimitrov, in his address, recalled Macedonia’s path to NATO and said that Macedonia has proven to be a constructive country in developing cooperation and overcoming problems. Despite praising the prime ministers of Macedonia and Greece, Zaev and Tsipras, for their courage, Dimitrov warmly thanked the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who he said that together with his government helped Macedonia, first of all with the signing of the Treaty of Good Neighbourly Relations between Macedonia and Bulgaria.

At the end of the signing, as part of a ceremonial gesture, Stoltenberg handed Dimitrov the same pen used by all 29 permanent representatives of the member states to sign the Protocol.

Macedonia was granted a seat at NATO with four more steps to be granted the right to vote

Brussells, 6 February, 2019 - 13:30 (META) 

With today’s signing of the accession protocol, Macedonia will get a seat at NATO. This means that the country will take part in all meetings and all of the Alliance’s organs with its status of an “invited country,” but it still won’t be able to vote while the accession process isn’t over.

Macedonia’s accession protocol towards the Washington Agreement will now have to be ratified by 29 NATO members, formally, through a referendum or parliamentary voting to be passed in the country, and in the end, it will have to be submitted to the US Department of State, as an addition to the original document dating from 1949 with which the Northern Alliance was formed.

Starting from today, Macedonia will take part in all meetings with its allies. The first seating on the seat in NATO will be during the ministerial meeting of the ministers of defense of the NATO countries members, that will be held of the 13th and the 14th of February. In April, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikola Dimitrov will take part in a ministerial meeting in Washington, and in December, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev will attend the meeting of heads of states and governments that will be held in London, the home of NATO’s first headquarters, in order to mark the Alliance’s 70th anniversary.

Macedonia is opening today its NATO page of its history

Brussels, 6 February, 2019 - 11:04 (META) 

By signing the protocol for Macedonia’s accession into NATO, Macedonia is opening its NATO page of its history. The ceremony will be taking place at the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, and after the ceremony is over, this country will be allowed to participate in the work of all NATO’s working groups, but without the right to vote. Со потпишувањето на протоколот за пристапување на Македонија во НАТО, земјава денеска ја отвора НАТО-страницата на својата историја. Церемонијата ќе се одвива во седиштето на Северноатлантската алијанса во Брисел, и по неа земјата ќе може да учествува во работата на сите тела на НАТО, но без право на глас.

The status of an equal country member under the name of North Macedonia this country will receive as soon as this accession protocol is signed by the parliaments of all countries members of the Northern Alliance. According to current estimations, it will happen in 9 to 18 months from now.

At the official ceremony was invited the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Dimitrov, who will attend the act of signing. Macedonia’s accession protocol will be signed by current diplomatic representatives of NATO’s countries members.

“With this step, a significant step of the accession process will be taken, which will be followed by the ratification of the Accession protocol at the parliaments of the NATO’s countries members. When the Accession protocol is signed, Republic of Macedonia will participate at all of NATO’s meetings, but as a country-invitee” informs the Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Greece will be the first country to ratify this protocol.

The parliamentary session in Athens is set for Friday.