On top of the issue of Edi Rama’s proposal to erase borders between Macedonia and Albania, Zoran Zaev’s Albanian visit also raised the question of protocol. Zaev was welcomed with two Albanian flags during his meeting with Rama, something that flies in the face of the protocol used during other similar visits.

Photos of an older visit by Nikola Gruevski to Albania were circulated online today, as well as photographs from visits of other foreign politicians to Albania, and the standard practice then was to have one Albanian flag and one Macedonian flag, or flag from the country of the other visiting dignitary. That’s why the image of a grinning Zaev sitting in a room draped with large Albanian flags during his meetings in Tirana raised eyebrows in Macedonia.

Zaev owes his office to Rama, who in late 2016 mediated between the parties of Albanians in Macedonia until they hammered out a joint platform which included requests unacceptable to the VMRO-DPMNE party. This damaged VMRO talks with Albanian coalition partners, and created an opening for Zaev to take over the Government of Macedonia.