Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The new Macedonian government will manage to achieve good results, especially in the field of economy

Vlado Popovski is a Professor in Law with the “St. St. Cyril and Methodius” University in Skopje. He was a Minister of Defense in two Macedonian cabinets, as well as a Minister of Justice. Popovski had also been an adviser to the late Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski and had taken an active part in drafting the Ohrid Framework Agreement that was signed in August 2001.
FOCUS News Agency talked with Vlado Popovski about the situations after the recent general elections in Macedina, the new cabinet, and his expectations about future developments.

FOCUS: Mr. Popovski, what is your estimation about the end of the process of cabinet formation in Macedonia?
Vlado Popovski: I think this process was actually a successful one since now the government has the support of 67 MPs, without the participation of VMRO-People’s Party. This means that now it has a comfortable majority. This will allow the cabinet in its attempts to realize their election program, especially in its economic part …where Nikola Gruevski’s cabinet has the potential to achieve positive results.

FOCUS: Are there any surprises in the new government?
Vlado Popovski: There are some personal surprises that no one had expected. VMRO – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) has stated that there will be surprises, and they came up – mostly in personal aspect for certain ministries. There were no surprises about the structure since the coalition was already known.

FOCUS: What are your expectations from the new government considering its members?
Vlado Popovski: I think the new government will manage to achieve good results in the field of economy. A new structure in the field of investments will also be formed, which will open new job positions. If it is successful in this direction and there are some results that could be felt in a positive way, and which to different from those achieved by the previous government, I would say this would be pretty enough.
As far as other spheres are concerned, I think that some political relations will be established, which will not soothe the situation since the conflict relations between the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) and VMRO-DPMNE will intensify further. This will make the realization of the Ohrid Agreement difficult. On the other hand, this will also lead to some intensifications in the international relations – of not violations, it would at least be a stagnation of international relations, and they need to be developed.
In an international aspect – the international community will not be pleased with such a course of events in Macedonia, i.e. the stagnation in the realization of the Ohrid Agreement. DUI has already stated that they will prevent the implementation of the Badenter principle in parliament. This means that the development of the positions of minorities will be in stagnation, and this will inevitable lead to some tension among the different communities.
On a local level, in the municipalities where DUI has mayors – they are 15 and this is not a small number, and where Macedonians are a minority, as in the Cair municipality, the Badenter principle will be ignored and decisions will be imposed through the Albanian community, which will cause tension in the Macedonian and the rest of the communities. The arrogance will have a boomerang effect not only on a local, but on a national level as well, and that is why I consider things are as not as good.
Considering Macedonia’s neighbors, and judging from the statements on the issue about the name of the country, there will be some stagnation. But I think that if the political and economic relations and cooperation with the Republic of Greece develop, this would be a kind of a compensation for the name problem. But I think this issue is as topical right now since Macedonia is not close yet to an EU or NATO membership. I expect that Greece will bring the issue to the fore before Macedonia’s accession to the Euro-Atlantic structures. But since this moment is still well ahead for us, the name issue will also fall into stagnation in contrast to the economic and political cooperation.

FOCUS: What would be the course of foreign policy that the new government will adopt and what would be the accents in its policy regarding the neighboring states?
Vlado Popovski: The foreign policy will preserve the course towards meeting the requirements for Macedonia’s accession to the EU and NATO – first in the field of economy, and perhaps, in some democratic institutions – in the filed of judiciary.
Reforms and reconstruction in the field of defense will also be made. The Police Law is also expected to be adopted considering the already suggested draft, but the very text of the bill was not satisfactory enough and I hope this government will draft a new text. The new government will get closer more radically to the European standards – structures, competences, and on the level of functions, as it is expected a new law in the sphere of civil and human freedoms to be adopted as well.
Macedonia will continue participating in international missions, as well as its friendly relations with the EU and the USA, and the development of the cultural and historical relations with Russia and China. I hope that the philosophy of the new Minister of Foreign Affairs (editor’s note – Antonio Milososki), who is young and well educated, will have some balance in these relations and will not lose the EU and NATO perspective.
I think the new government will stablize the relations with the neighboring states since there is no such great problems. Now, there are much smaller problems compared to 10 years ago, regarding Serbia, Bulgaria, Albania. In deed the problems that existed back in 1994, 1995, and 1996 do not exist any more. They were overcome in the mean time with the signing of different agreements and that is why I expect the cooperation and friendship with these states to be strengthened further.


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