PODGORICA – Montenegro and Macedonia are the two Balkan countries demonstrating what it meant to start on the road of integrations and finish the journey and what it meant to choose an alternative to integrations. Montenegro will participate in the next NATO summit as a member, whereas Macedonia is divided and in a deep crisis, Daniel Serwer, professor at the American John Hopkins University and expert for the Balkans, told Pobjeda, CdM reports.
Serwer said that political elites were the only ones to blame for the crisis in Macedonia.
“Washington and Brussels cannot be blamed for the situation. They have been even too patient with Macedonia, treating it as a weak country and supporting it in order to solve its issues. However, its leadership, particularly its president Djordjo Ivanov and former PM Nikola Gruevski, have not been interested either for NATO or for the EU. They’ve chosen neoliberal democracy with weak judicial system, thus allowing their supporters to become rich and guaranteeing their stay in power. They have also had Moscow’s support. Montenegro’s leadership has acted differently,” Serwer said.
He pointed out that Macedonian citizens deserved better.
“They made enormous progress in the years following independence in 1991. Gruevski deserves some credit for economic reforms and deployment of Macedonian troops to help NATO in Afghanistan under US command. The country is currently stuck. I’ve never met Zoran Zaev and I am not convinced that he is the right one. But he’s a guy with a majority in parliament. Let him try to govern,” Serwer said.
Commenting on the Russian influence on Montenegro and the region, he said nothing was over yet.
“Moscow will continue fighting against Montenegrin accession to NATO, but that will be harder and harder for it. I am especially grateful to Montenegro for its courage and persistency,” Serwer said, adding that Moscow provided good reason to Montenegro and many other countries in the region to be more attached to NATO, not Russia.
According to him, Russia is a regional power the influence of which is decreasing.
“Russia can offer only destabilisation to the region,” Serwer said.