VMRO-DPMNE deputy president Aleksandar Nikoloski said that the Macedonian Government did not make any move to decouple itself from Albania and ensure a better position to open its EU accession talks. According to Nikoloski, this is due to the bargain which Prime Minister Zoran Zaev struck with Albanian leader Edi Rama – to get the Albanian votes in Macedonia, but in exchange to subvert Macedonian national interests to Albania.

Macedonia was denied a date to open EU accession talks at the GAC meeting of EU ministers today in Luxembourg, even though it was seen as better prepared in comparison with Albania.

Meeting a European affairs minister from a major EU country last week, I asked about decoupling. The answer was: “My country is opposed to decoupling. Nobody from Macedonia asked for such a thing. Not even during my meetings in Macedonia this morning”, Nikoloski said in an interview with Lider.

He demanded resignations and accountability in the Government for failing to make steps toward this natural option that would have improved Macedonia’s position. According to Nikoloski, Deputy Prime Minister Bujar Osmani was conducting a completely uncoordinated campaign along with Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, and the two would even ask for meetings with same European officials at the same time. With the Netherlands strongly opposed to accession talks with Albania, Macedonia today sat on the sideline and watched as a number of countries, including Italy, the Baltic countries, the Visegrad contries, Croatia, even Germany, come out in opposition to decoupling. Earlier, Greece and to a lesser extent, Bulgaria, made the same position, effectively dooming Macedonia’s chances.

A smart Government would have spent its entire time lobbying from one capital to the other to have Macedonia decoupled from Albania and to ask for a list of specific reforms we could implement to receive a date for accession talks this year. Instead, they are involved in corruption at home and are extorting millions of euros in bags. This is how we got to this point, Nikoloski said after the bad news from Luxembourg.

He insists that this course was charted as far back as the Tirana platform in 2017, when Zoran Zaev committed himself to a list of maximalist Albanian demands for concessions in exchange for their support to form a Government. This platform was coordinated by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, who later quickly shot down a brief attempt by President Stevo Pendarovski to push for decoupling.