If we do not get the expected date for negotiating the chapters, there is a possibility that it could bring about the collapse of the Government, said Prime Minister Zoran Zaev responding to a journalist’s question at a press conference in Brussels regarding the consequences if the European Council does not accept the European Commission’s recommendation to start negotiations with the country on EU accession chapters.
“This stable government, with all the difficult decisions it has made, will likely lose the confidence of the majority in Parliament. As we promised members of parliament that we would have a positive decision from the European Union if we are to move forward”, Zaev said.
He recalled how the government had worked patiently in creating a majority for the constitutional changes, for particularly sensitive issues, and that members of parliament, who provided the majority on key issues, such as the constitutional change, were under constant threats by nationalists and radicals.
“We asked for a consensus on many laws and issues because we thought it was the best. To get a consensus in Parliament, it means many sleepless nights. Negotiations with many different stakeholders, political parties, civil society organizations, chambers of commerce, trade unions … And we reached a consensus. And now, if the EU does not deliver, most likely the government will collapse. If we have to call snap elections, the economy will come to a stop. Nobody invests during preparations for elections, or during negotiating a new government. We will lose six months, and that is the most precious time for us”, Zaev said.
Asked by reporters in Brussels whether early elections in this case would bring greater political instability and uncertainty over European reforms, and whether it gives more space to pro-Russian and nationalist parties, Prime Minister Zaev said that if there were elections, it will be the general public who decide.
“Either they support this progressive, pro-European option, or they support those who block these processes and what some call pro-Russian or nationalist and radical. The disappointment this will bring among our fellow citizens if the European Council does not deliver a positive opinion, will give hope to the latter. Citizens who support nationalism and radicalism, well that’s not good. It’s not good for the country, it’s not good for the region. These are the options and it is concerning. No matter what happens, we do everything the best we can. I want our partners (in the EU) to know that we have been waiting 15 years and that everything is now possible”, Zaev said.