North Macedonia Prime Minister, Zoran Zaef, has called for early elections just a day after French President Emmanuel Macron blocked the start of European Union accession talks with the country as well as with Albania.
“Citizens must decide which path we will take in the future – the correct, progressive European path, the path of reforms, or the path that leads backwards, towards isolation, nationalism, conflicts,” Zaef said in his televised address to the people Saturday noon.
He did not set a date for the snap elections, he just said “as soon as possible.”
He called the blocking of accession talks “a huge historical mistake on the part of the EU.”
He said that he felt “disappointed and angry.”
After all, Zoran Zaef had put his political career at risk with signing the Prespes Agreement with Greece, an agreement that forced him to change the country name and its Constitution.
On Friday, local media reported that Zaef was considering to step down.
Immediately after the EU decisions, the nationalist opposition VMRO demanded snap elections.
UPDATE: North Macedonia leaders decided on Sunday that the early elections will be held on 12. April 2020.
A fierce political dispute has broken out also in neighboring Albania, with Prime Minister, Edi Rama, to blamed “the power struggle between France and Germany.”
The major opposition party blamed Rama saying the prime minister “puts his personal power of the country’s interests and rules surrounded by criminals and black money.” It asked for early elections.
Macron’s justification of his insistence to block accession talks was not very convincing, even though he received the support by The Netherlands and Denmark. In fact these two countries supported accession talks with North Macedonia and the exclusion of Albania. This was not possible, though, as it would contradict Macron’s narrative.
The French President told reporters that the membership bids could not progress until the EU, with its complex decision-making structures, changed – though he did not say how it must do so.
He said the EU in its current shape was not able to face today’s challenges or handle another financial crisis, let alone allow in two more states from the Balkans, a region scarred by wars in the 1990s and struggling with crime and corruption.
“We need a reformed European Union and a reformed enlargement process, a real credibility and a strategic vision of who we are and our role,” Macron told a news conference, referring to the long process of admitting new members, which involves candidate countries meeting targets in areas such as the economy and law and order.
According to reuters, “Macron’s position frustrated other leaders because Macron had long urged the EU to think strategically and go beyond internal squabbles, envoys said.”
PS So what’s Macron real motive? Destabilization of the West Balkan or fear of the far-rights in his own country?