In an interview with Republika. VMRO-DPMNE Vice President Aleksandar Nikoloski discussed the recent meetings in Brussels by the party leadership, the political crisis over the attempts to amend the Constitution and the growing list of corruption scandals by top government officials. Nikoloski qualified the visit to Brussels as successful, and as an opportunity for the party to present its views on the constitutional amendments, as EU and EPP officials see VMRO-DPMNE as the next ruling party in Macedonia.

Nikoloski also discussed the failed talks with PM Dimitar Kovacevski on the proposed constitutional amendments.

SDSM entered the leadership meeting with a lot of dishonesty, distortions and lies. We offered two concepts on how to. protect the Macedonian national identity while opening the EU accession talks. SDSM refused them both and now the only option on the table is early elections, Nikoloski said, adding that the Kovacevski government is collapsing and can’t see the term through to the end.

SDSM attempts to portray Mickoski as giving up on his key positions during the meeting backfired, says Nikoloski, pointing to polls that show Mickoski as more popular than he was before the meeting.

The people are fed up with the promises that this will be the last concession. We wasted our lives being told “just this one more thing”. Kiro Gligorov told us that the first name change will only be for six months. Then came the change of the constitution, the treaty with Bulgaria. We need to put an end, Nikoloski said, warning that if the EU accession talks begin like this, Bulgaria will be able to deliver new nationalist demands every six months. “As a country and as the Macedonian people, we need to receive firm guarantees that Bulgaria will abandon its policy of veto. Otherwise, whenever a Bulgarian politician sees his popularity drop, we will face new shockwaves aimed at our identity”.

Regarding the high level of corruption, Aleksandar Nikoloski warned that that is the real reason who powerful EU countries won’t allow Macedonia to open its EU accession talks.

In the spring of 2018 there was some euphoria over Zaev, that he resolved the name issue and now we’ll advance to the EU. I warned then that it won’t happen even with the name change, because of the high corruption levels. No European politician will sit at the same table with a corrupt politician. I was accused as a phantasist then but only 12 months after the Prespa Treaty the EU denied us the opening of EU accessible talks, Nikoloski told Republika in an interview.

Another reason, Nikoloski said, is the failure to reform the secret police. “VMRO-DPMNE President Mickoski and I are constantly followed by the secret service”.

Nikoloski said that several great EU member states, excluding Germany, oppose Macedonia’s EU membership on corruption grounds, and only use Bulgaria as a convenient excuse. “Nobody can tell me that major EU capitals can’t send a heavyweight diplomat to persuade Bulgaria to drop the veto”, Nikoloski added.

The VMRO Vice President pointed to the recent scandal when the Austrian Ambassador to Macedonia accused the judiciary of protecting a pickles company owned by a member of the Zaev clan, which owes money to an Austrian company.

We are aware of this case, the person involved is head of a public utility company in Valandovo. That is how they operate. We have warned before, that companies owned by Zaev’s business partners have received tax rebates of six million EUR in four months. That is out of this world. There are almost no politicians in the leadership of SDSM and DUI who are not corrupt. This will all be investigated and prosecuted. 90 percent of our judges and prosecutors are decent, but these 10 percent who are corrupt or politically driven give the judiciary a bad name, Nikoloski said.