European Western Balkans

Zaev and Rama warn about the threat to reforms caused by the lack of EU support

Zoran Zaev and Edi Rama; PHOTO: Flickr

LONDON – North Macedonia and Albania face a risk of surging nationalism and unraveling of economic reforms after the EU closed the door to their desire to be a part of a block, the leaders of both countries said for Financial Times.

For Zoran Zaev, EU’s decision could lead to the return of the “bad past” of North Macedonia, while in a separate interview Rama said that Albania is collateral damage to the EU’s partition over enlargement policy.

According to Financial Times, the leaders stressed that the EU’s failure to proceed with both countries’ accession process will destabilise the region, in a geopolitical sense, where the influence of other countries, as Russia and China, is growing.

Both sides are dissatisfied because the EU failed to deliver on a promise, after their attempts to fulfill Brussels demands.

“Part of the process is irreversible, but I worry there could be return to the bad past that we had,“ said Zoran Zaev, emphasizing that the issues resolved by the Prespa agreement could be reopened due to nationalist sentiment in this multi-ethnic country.

He explained that, if there is enough nationalist rhetoric, radical actions and speeches in North Macedonia, that will give arguments to Greek politicians to use the same kind of rhetoric, adding that the Prespa Agreement could be jeopardy if his party does not win the early election next year.

Edi Rama assessed that internal EU reform is just a permanent alibi.

„We were cut twice from Europe brutally, once for five centuries under the Ottoman Empire and then for half a century under the most brutal communist regime. No one can live with the idea that there can be a third time, and that this time it can be Europe that cuts us brutally from itself,“ Prime Minister of Albania said.

Europe is in a period in which it will get worse before it will get better and we are just the collateral damage of that, said Rama.

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