Thursday, 14 December 2017 | News today: 14

Post referendum

Timco-Mucunski-90x120

Columnist: Timco Mucunski, PhD student in Law

Turbulent events at the southern neighbor last week caught the interest of the global political and economic public, and Sunday’s referendum campaign and results were probably the most exploited event in world media. It should not come as a surprise if possible consequences eurozone members and Greece could suffer are seriously analysed in case the scenario of leaving the eurozone turns into reality (which is legally close to impossible, or extremely complicated). Jens Weidmann, Governor of the German central bank ‘Bundesbank’, might have offered the best possible explanation recently, in his statement for the German paper ‘Handelsblatt’, in which he strongly warns the German government that possible ‘Grexit’ might cause serious monetary and financial damage to their country. In his opinion, ‘Bundesbank’ has reserves for eurozone crises in amount of EUR 14.4 billion, adding the sum will not be sufficient in case Greece leaves the eurozone.

Greek Prime Minister Tsipras has seriously affirmed his position post referendum on the national political stage, followed by resignations of finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and the leader of the biggest opposition party Nea Demokratia – Antonis Samaras. At the same time, EU leaders were forced to call in an urgent Summit, while European Central Bank called in an urgent meeting (both meetings were focused on the Greek crisis situation exclusively). According to renowned economic analysts, referendum results gave the Greek government the authority to return to the negotiation table with the EU and the international financial institutions, aimed at reopening of the talks on implementation of the required internal reforms, Greek banks liquidity, possible reconstruction and write-off of their financial debt.

The message from the last Summit of EU leaders has it that they expect for the Greek government to come up with new detailed proposals to the European institutions for them to be able to approve the third multiannual bailout programme. The newly-proposed reforms will have to be in accordance with the a;ready established rules and principles that EU and the eurozone rest upon. EU member states will definitely have to be extremely cautious when modifying their decisions since acceptance of new Greek demands could  trigger a dangerous chain reaction and a bad example for other countries which are facing similar financial difficulties. Simultaneously, member states are also aware of the complications and consequences that might follow after possible ‘Grexit’, since such development could mean that they would have to take over most of the mature Greek debts to international creditors. In meanwhile, European Central Bank informed that it will resume the emergency liquidity assistance for Greek banks as part of the bailout programme.

In order to find an appropriate way out of the crisis, joint and separate messages were sent from USA’s and France’s presidents, as well as Germany’s Chancellor, who basically agreed that Greece has to return to reforms, establishment of economic growth and determination of acceptable debt amount within the eurozone. The French President urged Prime Minister Tsipras to confirm the determination to remain in the eurozone with viable proposals, emphasizing that Europe and Greece must urgently use the open door for discussions, since entire Europe’s credibility and dignity are also at stake.

One should not ignore the influence crisis has on political relations in our region which was also accompanied with several warning statements, among which one of Belgian Foreign Minister, Didier Reynders, who warned that Greek crisis could cause negative consequences on the entire Balkans, possible destabilization included.

As for the Republic of Macedonia, we must conclude that possible consequences will appear, depending on the way events develop. Reaching an appropriate agreement is definitely the best solution and it would eliminate any possibility for Greece to leave the eurozone, potential banks default, drop in their investments and import-export activities, problems with supply and demand, as well as further deterioration of the entire economic situation in Greece. The opposite scenario will, nevertheless, result in negative financial and economic effect on the Republic of Macedonia, especially considering the large portion of Greek capital in banks and companies in Macedonia.

We keep hoping that the unpredicted developments at our southern neighbors will not have any negative influence on the development of political relations between both countries, especially in times when – after a longer period of time – a working bilateral visit of Greek Foreign Minister to the Republic of Macedonia took place and the agreement for implementation of many confidence-building measures. We would certainly like to see a positive step of the Hellenic Republic towards respect of international law, enabling a kick-start of EU and NATO pre-accession talks. As far as possibilities for deblocking of our Euro-Atlantic aspirations are concerned, it was encouraging to hear that former prime minister, Antonis Samaras, has left the political stage. He was one of the initial creators of the unprincipled concept for opposing to the use of our constitutional name – a concept that inflicted us major political and economic damages in the last two-and-a-half decades.

The Greek Prime Minister is a good lesson for all of us and we should be able to draw appropriate conclusions. We need to be increasingly committed to achieving bigger political unity in the upcoming period, as well as faster way to find a compromise for exit of the political crisis the country is experiencing, thus not allowing any disruption of the normal economic activities of Macedonian economy. It is precisely the sensibility of the moment that stipulates for politicians to start resolving relevant political, economic and identity issues in a committed, responsible and dignified manner and to resume their support for all necessary social reforms, thus not forgetting citizens’ will from last elections.

As for respect of the declared European democratic values goes, it is now the right time for us to jointly enhance activities to develop our economy, to increase foreign investments, to attract foreign tourists, to reduce unemployment and poverty, to improve quality of education and healthcare, to protect and promote national and cultural values, which will lead to realistic accomplishment of strategic foreign policy goals and reinforced general development and perspective for the Republic of Macedonia and everyone of its citizens.