Sunday, 27 May 2018 | News today: 0

Mickoski: Name solution must be based on national interests

The government survived the vote of no-confidence. Does this discourage you?

Mickoski: When I know that what I’m saying is true, and when I know that the arguments are on my side, it motivates me. The government’s surviving a parliamentary vote of no-confidence is the result of numbers, bargains and concessions, and it is not a result of the real mood of the citizens.

Prime Minister Zaev said that there would be a government reshuffle by the end of the month, do you expect capacity building?

Mickoski: The reshuffle will not solve the problems as the government is inherently corrupt. They know that this government is incompetent and will, therefore, try to reconstruct it to buy some time, but the problem is far more serious. They announce that there will be government reshuffle, with the excuse that they will introduce new energy. And what did they get tired of? What did they do in the past 10 months? Nothing big. Nothing. If this what they did so far is work, what it is like when they do not work!? If a minister doesn’t resign, we will not even know that he is a minister. On the other hand, I hear Prime Minister Zaev how openly, nonchalantly, tells that the main reason for the reshuffle was an increase in the parliamentary majority, or in other words a market for functions and posts, and not with the purpose of real improvement of their functioning. Just a makeup behind which agreement on positions is hiding. Nothing else. As long as this happens we have a national collapse. A law on languages was invented. And what did we get?! Division of the civilian tissue, they divided us into groups, separate us, make borders and raise artificial walls only to achieve career goals. In the economy a tsunami, in society a national collapse.

The name remains a hot topic. Prime Minister is optimistic, are you also optimistic?

Mickoski: I am an optimist by nature. But in order to be an optimist, I need to have information about that topic, which at the moment I do not have.

Prime Minister Zaev sais he was optimistic and that there is progress in the talks, while at the same time he made a statement that he was ready to end his career if that was the price for resolving the dispute. First, he needs to explain what his optimism is based on. If it is something nice, let’s all rejoice. Second, it is much more dangerous that with this he admits he is ready to make a decision that the people will not like, a decision that he is aware that it will mean an end to his career, which means that the concessions are too big. The Prime Minister should fight for state and national interests, and if he is doing that, then there is nothing to fear.

The Prime Minister says that we are close to solving the name dispute and that progress has been made.

Mickoski: I do not know what progress has been made, but I know when there are illogical things. We hear from Zaev saying that there is significant progress and that only the name and the scope of use remained. It’s like a doctor saying to a critically ill patient “we know what you’re suffering from, we just have to find the cure.” On the other hand, he says that a relative agreement has been reached on identity issues, which is also incomprehensible because identity does not know relative categories. Either you have that right or not. On top of that, in the end, the Prime Minister said that he wanted a referendum, something VMRO-DPMNE also wants. And here I can only say that it is good that he is following VMRO-DPMNE, but the essence of why we demand a referendum is not for Zaev to follow that position, but because the citizens of this country have an autochthonous right to decide on such a major issue.

But there are other challenges beyond the name issue. Let’s see the real priorities in the foreign policy of the government. Whenever Macedonian flags are burned in Athens, whenever there are shouts of chauvinism and nationalism from Greece, the Macedonian Foreign Ministry is silent. And that’s why they react and send statements to support Saudi Arabia, which was attacked by the Houthis. The prime minister has called on North Korea to give up the nuclear program, but here we see Kim Jong-un is not giving up. If it were not tragic, it would have been ridiculous. It’s just like giving a toddler to manage a helicopter.

We see how security tremors are taking place in the region, as there are tensions in Kosovo, just 50km away from Skopje, there are demonstrations in Albania, but the Prime Minister did not convene a single meeting on security, nor did we find out that the readiness was enhanced.

This government is neither economic nor reform, but this is a government for one issue only. But they also experience a debacle here.

We learned from the media that there was a Greek draft agreement, and we also learned from the media that there was a Macedonian draft agreement, and if we say that we are not informed, the Prime Minister or the Foreign Minister will immediately announce that they will inform us, but all after things are done. We also learned from the media that there will be a new meeting between Dimitrov and Kotzias, so if something goes wrong, I assure you, VMRO-DPMNE will be guilty. And I’m telling you this not because I have the ability to predict, but because practice shows that that is how the government works. Hypothetically they can agree and rejoice together with the Greeks, and after that to tell the nation that they have reached a solution. The solution must be based on state interests. To protect our identity. Look, I’ll tell you openly, what this generation of politicians who are in power is doing now will follow them their whole life. The possible solution will affect all future generations of Macedonians. VMRO is aware of this historic moment. I hope the government is aware too.

What do the reform laws envisage, what have you agreed on?

Mickoski: We have a principled position. Our position is that the VMRO -DPMNE will not be an obstacle to the reform laws that will benefit the citizens, improve the procedures which are in their interest. In the past period, representatives of VMRO-DPMNE negotiated, I would say that the contents of the reform laws have been done. We will support those over which we have reached an agreement and which are of interest to the homeland. Such is the law on witness protection and laws on OTA and interception of communications. The remarks of VMRO-DPMNE, which were of essential nature, were accepted and adopted by the parliamentary majority, although for the adoption of the first law, and according to parliamentary procedures, a majority of 61 votes in the Parliament is required. I can conclude that during the negotiations between the working groups, VMRO-DPMNE presented and then argued the remarks of the government’s proposals and managed to win by protecting the interest of the citizens and the state. We continue to work on reform laws in the future, and after each agreement, they will be processed according to the adopted methodology.

Do you expect a positive recommendation from the European Commission?

Mickoski: Yes, I do and we as an opposition contribute to this plan because it is of state interest. Macedonia is expected to receive a positive recommendation, as it has received in the past years – since 2006 for seven years in a row, and then a conditioned recommendation due to the political crisis in the country. But I also expect and finally to be given a date for negotiations. Macedonia is part of Europe and it is our interest to be part of the European family as soon as possible, in a community of equal countries where we will best fight for our state and national goals.

End of the second part of Republika’s mega interview with VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski