Is French Proposition Balanced?
Skopje has been involved in protests after the North Macedonian government considered the French proposal for resolving the conflict with Bulgaria.
In this climate, Ilva Tare has interviewed the Oxford professor of the Global School and Fields of Study, Dimitar Bechev, in the Atlantic Council's program, #BalkansDebrief.
Asked if the French proposal could bring about a compromise and whether it is balanced, Bechev claimed that it is probably not a good proposal in itself, but it is the best we have at the moment. It's a pragmatic way to calm blood and move forward with negotiations.
Dimitar Bechev does not rule out the possibility of a technical government, starting from a silent Constitutional tradition in North Macedonia. A bipartisan administration with ministers from the two largest parties overseeing elections. Maybe early elections and meanwhile the enlargement process with the EU is going nowhere. However, Bechev is cautiously optimistic, based on the dynamics in Skopje, where it seems that the government will survive and can reach a compromise.
"I think that the votes will be reached to approve the French proposal, despite the protests of the opposition and the citizens. However, the implementation of the French plan will be difficult, because North Macedonia and Albania will start negotiations after the proposal is approved. But in reality, the real negotiations will not begin until the Constitution is changed to include Bulgarians as one of the communities. If you are a Macedonian nationalist, you would probably like the idea that the Bulgarians are in the Constitution, because it means that they are different from the Macedonian majority, even though currently the issue is not being discussed in these terms in Skopje", said Prof. Bechev.