In an interview with the Hungarian MTVA station, President Gjorge Ivanov reiterated that he will not give the mandate to form a Government to a party that is blackmailed by a foreign country and wants to implement a foreign platform. The Tirana platform, prepared by three parties representing ethnic Albanians in Macedonia under the mentorship of Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, was the issue that President Ivanov raised when denying the mandate to the SDSM party. In the interview, President Ivanov also said that delays in European integration of the region have led to the resurfacing of nationalist, greater-state ideas, again pointing out to Rama and his recent nationalist statements.
“The Parliament majority was secured through blackmail, the acceptance of the platform of parties of ethnic Albanians in Macedonia, prepared in Tirana, in the cabinet of the Albanian Prime Minister. According to our Constitution, this brings Macedonia into dependency toward another country, which is punishable by law and goes against the oath I pledged when assuming the presidential post. The President is obliged to protect the Constitution and the laws, as well as the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Macedonia. If I do not observe the Constitution I could be subject to impeachment. The constitution and the existing procedure must be observed. On the contrary, a Government formed without respecting the constitutional grounds would be unstable and disputed”, President Ivanov told MTVA.
Speaking about the platform and the calls for federalization that have been heard during the election campaign, President Ivanov said that it is a failure of the European Union enlargement process that provoked these calls. “In the past we suffered a lot of problems from such ideas. Nationalism appears in the lack of a European idea, because the European idea is to only power that transforms our societies and leads to willing introduction of European standards, criteria and principles. Faced with the lack of this transformative power, people return to their ghettos and want to stick with ‘their kind’ and avoid ‘the others’. We see this in statements coming lately from some politicians in the Balkans, who are re-awakening ethnic tensions and stereotypes. The European Union missed its opportunity to condemn these gestures and these policies, and now they are spreading and expanding. We also didn’t expect to see NATO ignore these calls, especially as they come from one of their member states. NATO should have reacted and prevented this rhetoric, which now has a domino effect and is expanding in other countries as well. This is a disturbing situation, and that is the reason why the public is reacting. In Macedonia, we saw calm and dignified protests through which the public calls to avoid re-opening of the wounds of the past, the wound we believed were closed with the ending of the Balkan conflicts, with the Dayton agreement, the Ohrid agreement… But, the regional situation is now again sensitive and that is being exploited by other actors, actors who come outside of the European Union and NATO, and who want to influence this region”, President Ivanov added.
In a recent interview with Politico, Albanian Prime Minister Rama said that the lack of European perspective might bring about the unification of Albania and Kosovo. To this, Serbia responded that it would mean war with Albania, given that Serbia considers Kosovo to be part of its own territory.
President Ivanov also discussed a shared regional issue – the actions and protests of left wing civil society organizations. In Macedonia, organizations from the George Soros led Foundation Open Society Macedonia were accused of organizing often violent protests. “We saw that money from the American taxpayers was given to the Soros Foundation and was later used for violent actions. One of these actions was the torching of my public outreach office in downtown Skopje. These groups say they have no guilty conscience over the attack and insist that they merely participated in legitimate protests, that this is just the way they act”, Ivanov told the Hungarian TV station, adding that now investigations in these activities are taking place in the United States and in Europe. “Members of Congress, think tank and NGO groups have undertaken to investigate the matter. We will see what the results of the American investigation will be. I believe that this matter will be raised in a wider context, and will not cover only Macedonia. Macedonia was a victim of an astro-turfed civil society movement funded by foreign foundations that dictate the actions of the civil society organizations, instead of allowing them to follow the needs and interests of the citizens. There are numerous NGO groups that address real issues and their work benefits the public, the Government, everybody. But, there are also NGO groups whose only work is to deal in manipulations, pressure and raising issued that don’t benefit the citizens. They worked to divide our society along ethnic lines”, President Ivanov said, adding that the situation in this area is too liberal, and needs to be better regulated, with more transparency as to where the millions in funding is coming from and what is its purpose.
In the MTVA interview, President Ivanov praised Hungary as a true friend of Macedonia and said that the countries have an excellent relationship.
“While Hungary held the European Union presidency, it helped create a wider circle of friends and supporters of Macedonia, and we will never forget that, the fact that we had someone to help us have our word heard in Brussels. We’ve been a candidate to join the European Union since 2005, and we have received eight positive recommendations to open accession talks, but because of the blockade from our southern neighbor, Macedonia can’t move ahead. Meanwhile several countries from the region joined the EU or opened accession talks and this is why it is important for us to nurture bilateral relations with European Union countries, especially the Visegrad countries such as Hungary, who are our friends and help our Euro-Atlantic integration. We are also truly grateful to Hungary, not only for the police officers it sent to help patrol our southern border with a European Union country, but over the technical support from Hungary during the migrant crisis. We have seen then that Prime Minister Orban is a true friend of Macedonia and is much more far-sighted than other countries. Your help to build the fence along our border allowed us to initially control the flow of people, and later completely close the Balkan migrant route”, said President Ivanov.