Realpolitik “ flash” No. 9
2 - 18 MAY 2021
EXCLUSIVELY at ARGUMENTUM, the renowned diplomat& analyst, “ dots the i’s and crosses the t’s” on 7 major events in only 1000 words;
Dr. Jorgji KOTE
1.ASAP! is the commonly used euphemism now in the EU fora, the visits by Enlargement Commissioner, Varheley in Skopje and Tirana, in the EU Foreign Ministers Meeting on 10 May in Brussels and other events. As the acronym for “ as soon as possible” currently related to the opening of the accession negotiations with Albania and Northern Macedonia. Although it remains possible, June/July seems unlikely due to the problematics under investigation related to 25 April elections and Bulgaria’s blockade for its Macedonian neighbour. Meanwhile, the Netherlands says neither Yes, nor NO, pending the update by the EU Commission and its Parliament approval, which takes time. Therefore, the expectation is for October/November; BUT, only if until that time the Bulgarian blockade is lifted, 25 April is officially recognized and the opposition joins the Parliament. Besides, there is the impact by a decision concerning their coupling in this historic process. Otherwise, negotiations maybe postponed after March 2022, pending the presidential elections in France. This is why “ASAP” remains the political daily “tune” for an indefinite time.
2.Brussels “ blesses” Balkans! after the shock that the two notorious non-papers” produced in Brussels, Washington and other Euro-Atlantic metropoles. “ Defender Europe 2021” the largest military NATO exercise in the region is another vivid demonstration of its force in defence of member states and values of liberty. During the last two weeks, senior US/EU visitors were in Balkan countries; on 10 May, the EU Foreign Ministers met in Brussels on Balkan issues; whereas on 18 May, the Balkan leaders are invited in an Informal Dinner in Brussels by Mr. Borrell. The free millions of anti - Ccovid vaccines is the latest case of EU solidarity. Last year, it pledged 3,3 billion Euro for anti-Covid - 19 and 9 Billion Euro for the Investment Pact, apart from 1,15 billion Euro for the Earthquake of 26 November 2019 in Albania. Its only weak point for the region is the delay with the opening of the above-mentioned accession negotiations.
3.” Warm up” in Brdo-Brijuni where the Meeting of Western Balkan Presidents took place on 17 May. With no breakthroughs, just a repetition of the well-known problems&processes plus a political quarrel between Serbia and Kosovo on the border issue. The Summit was mostly a “warm up” exercise for the meeting in Brussels on 18 May and afterwards. Actually, regional summits have become a routine without no substantial echo and effects.
4.Social Summit! on 7/8 May in Porto under the Portugese rotating EU Presidency was the first of this kind. Pursuant to 20 main social pillars adopted in 2017, it defined three major directions 2030 - employment growth by 78 per cent, 60 per cent of the youth in annual training for free and reduction by 15 million, from which 5 million children from the list of the poor and socially excluded persons. It bodes well for Europe that in recent years was restricted to “ tightening the belt”
5.Europe for the citizens! With a one year delay, due to the pandemic, on 9 May, the EU leaders launched from the European Parliament in Strasbourg “ the Conference on the future of Europe”. For 12 consecutive months, there will be a wide public discussion, debate and consulancy in the 27 EU member states and insitutions in all forms, fields and formats.
Its idea was given by the French President Macron who together with top leaders wished a good route to this unique event. It reflects the vital domestic needs, it intends to provide the proper answers for the serious challenges lying ahead for the EU and to democratise the emblematic project launched 71 years ago.
Given its special significance, this Conference is co-chaired by the presidents of the EU Commission, Council and Parliament. The parliaments of the 27 memer states have observer status.
This debate does also come as a response to the grave concern that the EU is mostly turned into a “jungle” of hard rules and treaties, with decisions taken by groups of technocrats without a democratic mandate.
Therefore, with a view to identify the most optimal alternatives it should receive opinions from european citizens in wide public settings; then, concrete fora and structures will be set up as consultants and opponents to the EU institutions, so that each and every citizen would be genuinely represented in the EU decision - making process; with the final goal that apart ftom its supranational and inter-governmental character, the EU shoud also be insitutionalized as truly co-governing with its citizens. To this end, the ideas and recommendations forwarded during this all - inclusive debate maybe reflected in the EU basic Treaties. This would make the EU much more reliable and effective, at home and abroad, especialy in the geopolitical aspect, thus meeting successfully the major threats from other large powers beynd the Alliance. It is encouraging that in its very first days, thousands of proposals have “ overflooded” the relevant platform by citizens from different countries. They do include the single European voting, income and military service, the European identity card and language and others.
6.Bulgaria blocked! due to the inability to establish a broad based governmental coalition by the ruling party ranked first despite substantial loses in the elections on 4 April because of negative occurences and mass protests against PM Borisov. Hence, Bullgaria remains blocked until the early elections on 11 July 2021. However, a new deadlock afterwards is not unlikely. It seems that the “curse” of blocking Macedonia now is chasing Bullgaria itself.
7.Inability&Inoncense are there in the current outbreak of the mortal Middle Meast conflict. Inability by international community, the USA/EU together with Izrael and Palestine; they have failed to apply a consensual and sustainable agreement in last 3 decades; “ The Abraham” sponsored last September by the USA was unilateral, bookish and ineffective. True, the current efforts may provisionally cover up the wound there; yet, it will be bleeding blood and without any durable settlement even for the medium term. Its winners are Hamas and Netianahu; he is trying “ by hook and crook” to win a new term after 4 elections in two years, amidst corruption charges. Whereas the greatest loser is INNOCENSE, i.e. thousands of civilian victims, especially women and children.