UMD condemns the decision by European Union leaders to block Macedonia’s bid for membership yet again. The decision is another blow to Macedonia’s EU integration hopes, and it compromises the affirmation by the European Union to expand and take in new members.
Macedonia has been a candidate for over 14 years, but despite the length of its candidacy status, the EU has repeatedly denied membership to the country. The latest disappointment is especially painful for Macedonians, given the sacrifices that were laid down by the Macedonian people. The government in Skopje damaged the Macedonian identity and national dignity in return for EU membership. Macedonians were forced into honoring the radical nationalistic demands by its neighbors, while the EU enthusiastically praised the hijacking of the Macedonian identity as a step in the right direction. In the end, the EU failed to live up to its promises, compromising Macedonia’s future.
This leaves Macedonia with much uncertainty going forward. Macedonians throughout the world are rightfully asking whether we have a reliable ally in the EU, and whether we can trust EU member states. Only one thing remains certain: Macedonia must rebuild its broken national core and fix its institutional problems.
There is much work to be done in the areas of political and social freedoms, rule of law, and corruption control before Macedonia reaches a development level comparable to its EU allies. To this end, UMD hopes that all Macedonian political parties will reaffirm their commitment to improving Macedonia’s institutions and strengthening the judiciary system. Whereas the resolve to join the European community remains strong, Macedonians deserve leadership that respects and guards the Macedonian national interest, while improving our country’s democratic governance.
The upcoming elections in April 2020 will be an opportunity for Macedonians to freely elect their new leaders. But more than just an election, UMD hopes that Macedonia can use April 12, 2020 as a stepping-stone for creating a more representative parliamentary system. UMD strongly recommends a representative parliament based on a single district, which will make parliamentarians more accountable to the electorate as opposed to their political parties. Furthermore, UMD urges Macedonian authorities to update their voter registration lists, in order to decrease the possibility of election fraud. These changes will improve the state of democracy in Macedonia and will strengthen the country’s commitment to democratic norms and values.