Zaev: The moment is now, every new proposal will probably be more difficult to accept

Zoran Zaev
Zoran Zaev / Photo: EPA-EFE / GEORGI LICOVSKI

The most important issue, the Macedonian language and Macedonian identity are ensured and guaranteed in the negotiation framework and thus recognized and accepted by the EU. That is the first and absolutely most important thing, former Prime Minister and SDSM leader Zoran Zaev announced tonight on his Facebook profile.

- The protocol that the Macedonian Government and the Bulgarian Government would sign explains the way to overcome the open issues that are solvable. Building good and friendly relations with neighbors is essential for the peace, stability and prosperity of a region such as the Western Balkans. Therefore, both we from the Macedonian side and our colleagues from the Bulgarian side must work together to close the open issues. At the same time, it is very important to fully preserve the national dignity of both parties in the talks. Friendship is created and built when two parties mutually care for each other while solving open issues. The Macedonian side has politicians who I am sure will take guarantees and obligations through those talks in the future to fully represent our national interests with dignity and constructively, writes Zaev.

According to him, good relations with all our neighbors strengthen the Western Balkans, and cooperation makes us a serious factor as a region before the whole of Europe and the world.

- We have seen that through friendship and good neighborliness, issues that have been open and unresolved for decades, even centuries, such as the progress we achieved with the Prespa Agreement, membership in NATO, but also the realization of the Autocephaly of our Macedonian Orthodox Church - Ohrid Archdiocese. In all three cases we have a direct confirmation of our indigenous Macedonian identity. With the start of negotiations with a verified and undisputed Macedonian language within the framework of the European Union, we will get another identity victory for Macedonianism, ex-prime minister Zaev assures.

According to him, it is important as a country to strive for a more successful one and equal society for all.

- When it comes to topics related to non-discrimination and removing hate speech, it is important to know that they refer to all communities in our multicultural society and I don't see a problem in that at all, on the contrary I think that we can still improve a lot even without the EU to demand it from us, so that we strive for a more successful ONE AND EQUAL SOCIETY FOR ALL. In that field, we have achieved a lot so far even without the EU asking us to do so. For multicultural coexistence and for building one and equal society for all, we are already an example both in the region and in Europe, and we should continue to develop such policies, to remain leaders in that field, because it only brings good for our people and for everyone peoples of the Balkans, Zaev believes.

He referred to the Prespa Agreement and the Good Neighbor Agreement with Bulgaria.

- When it comes to the fulfillment of the Good Neighbor Agreement with Bulgaria and the Prespa Agreement with Greece, I am confident that it is much better for us to sit at the table in the European institutions and be the ones who, in our Macedonian language, demand full fulfillment of both agreements in which the Macedonian language and the Macedonian people are not disputed. We are witnessing that Europe shows understanding for Macedonianism and for our historical right to self-determination.
Considering that this is not the last challenge before our membership in the EU and that many negotiation chapters are waiting for us to be closed, I think it is very important for us at this moment that Bulgaria confirms that it will not open new bilateral problems in the future and that it accepts to be dedicated to building friendship and good neighborliness together. Through friendship and good neighborliness, even the most complex problems were solved more easily. On the contrary, when there is a hostile atmosphere, the number of problems only increases, writes Zaev.

Regarding the proposal from the French presidency which arrived in the Macedonian government on the last day, Zaev explains that it is not a problem to open the Constitution and bring Bulgarians and other smaller ethnic communities into it.

-Another essential part of the French proposal is the inclusion of Bulgarians, Croats and Montenegrins in the Constitution. It is a step that we have to take and which will in no way harm the state, society or any of the communities in our country. We already have seven ethnic communities in our Constitution. With constitutional amendments, there will be 10 ethnic communities. Only out of spite, because of bad intentions or because of personal political profit can someone be against the introduction of three new ethnic communities into the Constitution. Opposition to multiculturalism is opposition to the European integration of our homeland. The members of the three ethnic communities, although they are significantly fewer in number, are still equal citizens of North Macedonia who were born and live here together with all of us and have the right to self-determination, something we are proud of as a country that respects that right. That challenge should be accepted and we should continue the path to full membership in the EU, Zaev believes.

He expects constructive consultations and support for this proposal from every single responsible politician and citizen in the country.

- This proposal is already supported by the whole of Europe, and experience teaches us that every new proposal will probably be more difficult to accept. If we are sincerely in favor of membership in the EU, then the time is now, now we have to show it in action and finish this process as soon as possible. And, everyone knows, our Macedonian people never got anything easily, they fought for their state and spiritual independence and fought with smart and wise decisions. Let's be smart and wise and continue to move forward as Macedonians with a recognized Macedonian language and identity, with our own Macedonian state integrated in the Euro-Atlantic alliances as a strategic determination of our entire people, of all ethnic communities, writes former Prime Minister Zaev.

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