site.btaUPDATED Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani: There Is no Other Path to EU for North Macedonia than through Constitutional Changes
In a Kanal 5 interview, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, said that VMRO-DPMNE instills bulgarophobia, europhobia and albanophobia and thus fuels fears in the country’s citizens.
He was hopeful that the changes to the Constitution, which are a condition for starting EU membership negotiations, could be approved in the current Parliament. The Minister added that even if this does not happen, North Macedonia should work towards that goal until the very end so that its citizens are convinced that there is no alternative to the European path for the country.
"We have an opposition [VMRO-DPMNE] that does not lead but follows. A chairperson [Hristijan Mickoski] who checks the polls every day and adopts a position based on that, riding the populist wave. He has no strategic position of his own," Osmani said.
He also recalled the words of US Assistant Secretary of State James O'Brien, who criticized the opposition in an interview for 360 Degrees during his visit to North Macedonia. "If somebody tells you that they have a better offer [for constitutional changes], but they won’t tell you what it is yet, that's somebody you wouldn't buy a car from," said O'Brien, who conferred with VMRO-DPMNE Chairperson Hristijan Mickoski in Skopje.
In his interview, Osmani said that a way must be found for the constitutional changes to be voted on in the next six months, adding that the EU guarantees the opposition is talking about are in the negotiating framework, which "is the filter for the Bulgarian demands".
"We have not been working to convince Bulgaria but to build up a wall between Sofia and Brussels so that their demands cannot get across to Brussels. [When the negotiations begin,] Bulgaria might not follow the rules of the game, but under the existing rules [Bulgaria] cannot put a block on something that is not on the road maps. The protocol is not part of the negotiating chapters. We received guarantees through the negotiating framework, under which the Macedonian language became a European language for the first time, with no further [remarks and clarifications]. The way in which the negotiating chapters are opened is a guarantee," Osmani said, adding that there are no bilateral matters in the chapters "apart from the minorities action plan" which includes human rights and constitutional amendments. "The resolution of the German Bundestag is a guarantee. The Bulgarian Government's statement that there will be no new demands is a guarantee. You can find a need for a million other guarantees, but this is the path," Osmani said.
The Foreign Minister noted that the minorities action plan, which is part of a rule of law roadmap and "does not apply to Bulgarians but to all ethnic minorities with a less than 20% [representation], which Albanians have," is already being developed at the expert level and will be timely presented.
"Society has never been more polarized on the EU subject. The 'European front' and anti-EU parties will come to light in the upcoming elections, and it is possible that all political parties that believe that the country's European path should be accelerated will unite around a single candidate for the presidential elections," Osmani said.