Outgoing Prime Minister Zoran Zaev was asked about his latest invention in national identity – referring to the Macedonian people as the “multi-ethnic Macedonian people”. In response, the politician who assured the public that his 2018 Prespa treaty with Greece ensures the national identity of the Macedonians, replied that it was not a gaffe, but how he sees things.

The Macedonian people in the Republic of North Macedonia is the people of the Republic of North Macedonia. And it is multi-ethnic. It is composed of Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, Vlachs, Roma, Bosniaks, Serbs and all the others who live in it. So the phrase the multi-ethnic people of Macedonia, or of the Republic of North Macedonia is the term we are now using. I use it on purpose because I believe that we are a multi-ethnic country with a multi-ethnic people, but we are still all the Macedonian people. who belong to the Republic of North Macedonia, Zaev said.

The actions of his regime have led to the weakening of the Macedonian nation state character of the Republic of Macedonia, and as less and less ethnic Macedonians are willing to support Zaev’s SDSM party, he has turned on an increasing campaign to bring ethnic minority voters to his coalition. But, a major promise of his Government was that the Prespa treaty and his other concessions toward neighboring countries will in fact strengthen the Macedonian national identity, even as neighbors deny its uniqueness and right to statehood. But now Zaev is adopting a position that the Macedonian nation is not equivalent to ethnic Macedonians, whose national identity was being pressured and was supposedly secured by the Prespa treaty.