Tuesday, 17 July 2018 | News today: 19

Good news and bad news from Brussels


Columnist: Goran Momiroski


According to the new European Commissioner for Enlargement, who will be responsible for EU’s Neighborhood Policy, instead of EU’s old strategy for building area of democracy and prosperity in the long run, now the European security, values and interests will be provided and maintained through the Neighborhood Policy. Many of those familiar with the situation in Brussels can not tell what that means.

If we analyze only security from this holy trinity, we will easily conclude that the region which the most serious candidate countries come from, along with Ukraine and Georgia, will be an imposed player that will prevent the entry of “unfriendly” elements in the heart of Europe, regardless of whether it is Russian or radical Islamist penetration. Did Johannes Hahn want to say that Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Turkey and Albania should be the first line of the front that threatens the EU can not be claimed with certainty, but logic says that the European security is easier to defend in Izmir, Skopje and Durres than in Rotterdam, Prague or Madrid.

The unclear statement by the 57-year-old Austrian diplomat Johannes Hahn, for whom few would argue that he is not a friend of the region and that he is among the “tired” of enlargement, only added fuel on the fire within the supporters of conspiracy theories. In countries like Turkey, which is often faced with open hostility from some of the European radical rightists due to the religious composition of its population, in recent years not often can hear that the clash of civilizations, as described in Stephen Huntington’s book or another similar form, is an insurmountable difference for the full integration of all countries of the old continent. If next year, when the new Neighborhood Policy is written, Johannes Hahn, his boss – the High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini and the Commissioners whose portfolios are connected with the foreign affairs of the Union do not give precise explanation for Hahn’s announcement and continue, on behalf of its ratings among voters, to push aside the countries ready for accession negotiations, will only speed up processes that may cause chaos across Europe. If in the next five years the aspirant countries do not get solid promises, which are not fake as thus far, given the Russian penetration in the region, but also the entry of radical Islamist groups on the border of the EU, can create hell instead of safety zone.



Which frozen conflicts will the EU resolve?

During his presentation before the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn mentioned another important thing to Macedonia, i.e. announced that the new European Neighborhood Policy will have a new goal – increased EU role in the resolution of frozen conflicts in the eastern neighborhood. Although this definition primarily refers to Ukraine and relations with Russia, if the new goal really becomes part of the strategy, then Brussels does not have any reason take a stronger role in ending the dispute between Greece and Macedonia, which according to all recognized academic and practical definitions is a frozen dispute. The danger in our case is that the EU will still avoid direct involvement in the dispute, which it will have to be resolved not only in accordance with the positions and interests of the EU and the member states, but also in accordance with the international standards and rules. In that case, the ruling of the International Court of Justice, although it provides a serious advantage to Macedonia, is an obstacle for EU to start any initiative. It is almost impossible to expect the EU to go directly against their member state that perfectly plays a game that includes political stability, monetary efficiency  and collapse of the euro and the European Monetary Union.

Will EC keep its promises?

The other good news from the European Parliament, where the EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn performed, are several new principles, if they are not sheer cloudy vagueness, that can be used by the Macedonian authorities. One of them is the principle of “more for more”, meaning countries that put more efforts in the implementation of reforms should receive more benefits from the EU in terms of money or joint and local projects.