BY SELIM IBRAIMI, INSTITUTE FOR SECURITY STUDIES AND DEVELOPMENT -(ISSD)
The EU announced plans to expand with new members from the Balkans.
This is good news for Macedonia and its residents, but Macedonia is not in the 2025 membership plan. The European Commission favors only Montenegro and Serbia.
Meanwhile, protests by Greek citizens this week are the reason for the rise of nationalism in the Balkans.
In fact, disagreements between Greece and Macedonia have good chances to boost nationalist emotions in all WB6 states.
In Greece, the Greek population stood up and objected to the possible use of Macedonia’s name in the dispute between the two countries.
Historically, Greece has used all the means to dominate Balkan politics and influence the domestic policies of neighboring states.
Analysis: The rise of nationalism and Russian adventures
It would be very dangerous if Greece were to return to the past because of mass demonstrations organized in Thessaloniki and Athens.
From a geopolitical point of view, an additional crisis in Macedonia’s name will make a happy someone who is a powerful force in Europe and the Balkans, the Kremlin, who wants to hinder (stop) the Balkan countries’ to become members of NATO or even EU.
An attempted coup reveled by the Western sources in Montenegro; Moscow tried to use the elections in 2016, shortly before Podgorica became ready for NATO.
Russia is cynical in this issue and as always stating that it is supporting the aspirations of Macedonia and other WB6 countries.
So far the Kremlin has shown hearts to the Macedonian nationalists, while Moscow sends a message to Athens to make no concessions and narrowing the scope to the government of pro-Western PM Zoran Zaev.
At the same time, these actions of Russia are additional problems for United States policy in Macedonia.
The Kremlin has been trying for more than 10 years to spread propaganda and fake news, pushing the country away from Brussels and reforms.
However, this window of opportunity that was open is being narrowed in some degree also by the EU’s enlargement policies itself.
Thus, it is impossible for Negotiator Nimtez to reach a lasting agreement with both sides.
According to the Greek “Liberal Party” currently leading in national polls, it does not object to a possible compromise with Macedonia, but will no longer vote with Prime Minister Tsipras’s government and it is likely that the “Greek Nationalist Party” (Independent) part of the ruling coalition and the” Greek Orthodox Church” which influence the political life of Greece and its strong ties with the” Russian Orthodox Church “will continue to strongly support protests against the use of the name Macedonia.
According to analysts, in Greece is also the possibility of a growing of crisis in Greek government and early elections that may undermine the likelihood of compromise.
If the diplomatic window closes for an agreement between Skopje and Athens, then Russia has made us a surprise in the Balkans and this would be a blow to the European project.
Russia’s return to the Balkan scene with an epic victory from incomplete deals would be a major failure of the international community in Macedonia.
The responsibility will fall into the EU, which is selecting which countries will first join the union in 2025, leaving room for new crisis, mistrust in the region, or even damaging the negotiations of governments that want progress.