Imer Mislimi – Journalist
Since Macedonia gained its independence, it has been struggling on with different issues with neighbors countries. The issues with neighboring countries consist of historical and cultural matters.
First of all, Macedonia has name issue with Greece. Greece claims that Macedonia is a part of its territory. Because of that, Greece sees another country with name Macedonia as national threat. After long term negotiations the name dispute between two countries is still alive. For this reason, Greece do not recognize Macedonia with constitutional name. Instead of it, Greece accepts FYROM. There is another neighboring country have unsolved issues with Macedonia. This country is Bulgaria. Culture. language and history generate the issues between countries. Bulgaria recognize Macedonia with its constitutional name. On the other hand, Bulgaria do not recognize macedonian language and culture. Bulgaria, made it clear that it will do what it can to help Macedonia join both organisations, if all the current open issues are resolved. These issues represent big obstacles in the process of European Integration of Macedonia. Because, both Bulgaria and Greece use their veto to block Macedonia`s EU and NATO membership. Both of countries seek from Macedonia to make change in its name and cultural claims.
Could be ended agelong name dispute ?
After long standing political crisis and succeeding early election came out a new government lead by Social Democratic Union of Macedonia, Democratic Union for Integration and Albanian Alliance. New government, in accordance with its program start to strengthening bilateral and multilateral relations with neighbour countries. The first step has been taken to maintain relation with greece. Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov have made an official visit to Greece and sent a clear message to his counterpart Nikos Kotzias that Macedonia is open to solve name disputes. But, last meetings with Greece have not certain result. But, according to some unofficial information there is high possibility to find an temporary solution with FYROM. Some expert says that Greece can accept Macedonia with name FYROM and withdraw its veto. After that both country can continue negotiation for permanent solution. Last week, Foreign Minister of Greece Kotzias one of his statements said that there is a favorable ground to solve name disputes. His statement and positive opinions on this issue, lead to an expectations for solution.
Big step with Bulgaria
Relations with Bulgaria is improving faster than expected. Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev have made an official visit to Bulgaria and met his Bulgarian counterpart. Contrary to meetings in Greece, meettings in Bulgaria have given certain results. After all of this. Macedonia and Bulgaria agrees to sign agreement on good-neighborly relations. This is a historical development in the relation between two countries. Besides that. the statements that have been made by leaders in Bulgaria was really important to predict future development in the relations. For example, PM Zoran Zev, in his statement said that Macedonia and Bulgaria has common history. Through this statement he wants to reduce anxieties of Bulgarian side. On the other side, this statement is also a message to Greece that Macedonia do not claim any historical discourse to Greece.
Macedonis so close for it`s dream
Macedonia also have aims to improve relations with other neighbors and regional contries such as Albania. Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The new perspective of Macedonian foreign policy is being recognized by international communities. European Union and NATO appreciates Macedonia`s new diplomatic strategy. If Macedonia could be able to carry out this strategy, Being EU and NATO membership will not be far for Macedonia. Finally, If Macedonia can resolve all issues with its neighbors , Macedonia would take an mediator role in the region. To see the whole pictures and result we have to wait.