Frckoski: Opposition should not give blank support for the name
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Professor Frckoski, is there an opportunity for review of the Ohrid Framework Agreement after 13 years?
-No, there isn’t. I think the review disputes are actually a political spin that the two parties in power, most responsible for it, are trying to explain why they are not doing well with the implementation of the agreement, and it results from various reasons and to blame someone else that the document is a problem, that is overcome and that a part is not realized. In fact, the two parties most responsible, the majority Macedonian and Albanian, treat the agreement as a bastard, or unwanted child for various reasons and aspects. The agreement satisfies Angela Merkel’s criterion of a good compromise and agreement, both sides are equally unhappy with it, as she says, and the next aspect- the agreement makes a solution that keeps Macedonia as a unitary state, which now no longer satisfies Albanians. They do not say it openly, but are trying to thread it through some requirements for a new agreement. On the other hand, it gives them right regarding the linguistic rights of the Albanians, which Macedonians think are too many, or that are undeserved. So both sides are somewhat dissatisfied. But the problem is that they do not realize it really of a different aspect, and they cannot blame someone else for that, unless the agreement as an act. The whole problem lies in their implementation and they concluded it well in the last unfortunate encounter which was an empty debate over the agreement. They concluded that the agreement is good, but implementation is poor. How is that possible? VMRO-DPMNE does not treat the agreement either as a necessary evil. As a necessary evil implies that it has been realized where necessary. No, VMRO does not implement the agreement anywhere unless there is pressure or requests from foreigners or partners for any specific reason as to remain in government, to overcome the crisis rather than as a majority party to have primary responsibility for carrying out the agreement. So, it does not treat it as a necessary evil, but only as an evil that should be avoided wherever possible. And that is why there are problems in the implementation of the agreement that are not inherent in the agreement, but the politics of implementation. DUI, of its own reasons, uses it as a symbolic means of inauguration of its political role, victory, role in government, as holder of the contract, although they were not negotiators, but rebels at that time. But it frivolously treats its word. They are not satisfied with it because it defines Macedonia as a unitary state and Albanians with linguistic rights located generally in culture and education, except in the part regarding recruitment in the civil service and the Badinter majority. There is no serious debate what development of political system means in the spirit of the Ohrid agreement they repeat. The party should make a study how the Ohrid agreement develops. Firstly, part of the Badinter laws they contracted must be supported by voting for the state budget in the area of education and culture with Badinter majority. DUI does not set the budget and its partly voting with Badinter majority as a problem. It would be in the spirit of the Ohrid agreement. So, you cannot pass the laws with Badinter and the budget to be passed with the majority and not to plan money for your laws, so everything fails. It is logical the budget in the area of education, science and culture, where supports for the laws are, those 46, to be the same as Badinter. That would open a debate, they do not initiate it, but know it. Why, ask them.
Secondly, they do not raise the question of the right to access to government administration, not only where Albanians are the majority but everywhere the delivery could be in their language. Again I do not understand why they do not require this right. It is the development of rights in the right direction and in the spirit of the Ohrid agreement. They require discussion on language in the ministries; it is out of the Ohrid agreement. Here the Ohrid Agreement and the Constitution should be amended. DUI does not initiate true development in favor of Albanian citizens. So I think they use it as a symbolic flag, but do not treat it seriously. And so I think that the two parents in the government treat it as a “bastard” or unwanted child, who use it, have nothing to do with it, it is here, foreigners and social services treat it, cannot kick it and in that sense it is ill-fated, but at the same time it is a basic document that will survive. The document will survive their dullness and will luckily be in favor of the Macedonian state fully, to Macedonia’s accession to the EU. It will remain a document that is above EU standards for minority and human rights and will therefore remain valid.
In your opinion, has the Framework Agreement been distorted in relation to the framework employments, where, according to the perception in the public, the aim is to meet the percentages and not the quality of administration. How long will the race for percentages last?
– TheFramework Agreement sets this question well, or trying to intensively recruit in the state administration through a political agreement and improve the percentage of community members who are in the minority. And that’s OK, it’s a standard. They pay taxes and want to be present in the civil service paid by them. The problem is the performance by the parties in power. Do not look for others to blame for the agreement. They politicize the process of recruitment, their filters are key to acceptance rather than the quality of people. Albanian students with eight and nine average marks of legal and political science complain to me that they cannot normally apply if they do not get through the party filter. They are out despite being best. That’s the problem. But it’s a typical party abuse of the provisions of the Ohrid Agreement. They are not authorized by the Ohrid Agreement. It is not a problem of percentages; the problem is the quality of people they employ, especially Albanians. Also Macedonians have no such problem, but unfortunately the same manner of recruitment. So, the politicization process of recruitment process is not a problem, but it is typically a problem of abuse of the Ohrid Framework Agreement provisions by the ruling parties. You cannot have a problem with the employment that it should properly have the presence of members of minority communities in the state administration. It has been OK and will always be ok. That provision is not problematic. Politicization is problematic, the quality of people is lower and the intensity is abused. Only the employment of Albanian candidates is recorded, not VMRO candidates, and they are three times more. And now what happens? The percentage of Albanians in administration, although there is intense recruitment, remains the same or decreases in some points because the recruitment of Macedonians is three times higher in state administration. That number has increased from 90,000 to 160,000. Albanian recruitment is in front of the cameras, Macedonian recruitment is behind cameras. However, the percentage remains the same. Again no one is satisfied. Why? Because Albanians are recruited, but their percentage remains low. Why? Because Macedonians are recruited three times more. Instead the process to stop even if you need to intensively recruit only members of minority communities. It is difficult but the Government must stand. It is an agreement because Macedonians are too present. It is tricky. They did not use to be recruited but now they are recruited more and that’s it. And the recruitment must be with criteria. Recruitment commissions must have an international expert or recruitment to be performed under the supervision of the international community. Thus panic will occur in the government. If there are foreigners inside, they will insist on quality, if not corrupt foreigners. Then they will recruit Albanians, but quality, and not along party lines. It is easy to correct if there is a political will, but in this case there is no political will and therefore the process is deformed.
What do you mean by in front of and behind the cameras?
– We do not know the number of recruited VMRO candidates in public administration, and we know the number of recruited Albanians. And the number of VMRO candidates is huge, three times greater than Albanians, and should be less than Albanians to increase the correction of percentage of Albanians in state administration. Only Albanians should be recruited. For example, in an announcement of 200 people they should recruit 120 Albanians, and only 80 Macedonians. The number needs to be increased.
When you already mentioned the international community, do you still think that foreign assistance is necessary to establish a technical government?
– When I say foreign assistance I do not think they should establish a technical government but should be noted that with their money, with their funds, their negligence and their ignorance within their diplomatic presence in the country, Macedonia has built a populist authoritarian system. They do not understand it. They do not perceive it, or perceive it as a problem of the state in this or that area, see it in a piece. They do not see the big picture, that the system is seriously powerful, in a whole completed in Macedonia. The same system is built in Serbia, but not completed as a whole.
An authoritarian system has been completed, which is very difficult to change and which lures them and seriously manipulates foreigners. They are very subservient to such a system. They will write in a report something stricter, but nothing beyond that. There is an exception, embassies that are really correct, but most remain silent and do not cause problems in terms of power, they are peaceful, and the whole system goes into a quite totalitarian direction. Civil rights suffer, freedom of information, institutions that are totally politicized and here we come to the problem of technical government. The opposition has a big problem-whether to legitimize such institutions that are completely party usurped and to give legitimacy to all their future decisions or try sticking out from these institutions to show where the problem is. This policy is risky, weakening of the opposition can happen, depletion of the opposition, then trying to make it irrelevant. But the gourd is broken, there is a serious crisis in the country. Therefore the opposition must stand together with the entire block of NGOs indicating that we are dealing with a system of completed dictatorship which does not think to easily move and where political crisis must open a crack in the totalitarian system. The first crack will be the problem with the name. They will have a problem to solve, will require support from the opposition. The opposition has to play it well. They must not give blank support. After 8 years of prating, the government comes to positions of opposition and now it says: you wanted it, why aren’t you supporting us? The opposition has to express doubt as to the ability of the VMRO-DPMNE leadership to lead the process of negotiation, which has not been able to run it for eight years and has led even to begin discussing the identity in public. It is the first point and here they should negotiate with them how they will organize the “unity” on the positions of the name that will come now.
Second is the overall collapse of the economy. When you look at Putin and Erdogan, Putin for 15 years, Erdogan for 7-8 years direct rule have increased the average Russian salary of an average Russian to 50 times, from 500 rubles to 20,000 rubles. I cannot accept them but I can understand them. Ours has impoverished us on all bases, has not increased, but has reduced the salary of all receiving budget salary on all grounds. It will get into crisis, the state has no money. That element is the second position of the opposition, they have to put that element-that we are sinking without touching the bottom. It cannot go peacefully. We all get poorer on all grounds. We were best before Croatia and now we are below Kosovo and Albania. It is a scandal. The opposition must turn that element in policy of change. The means of exit and entry into parliament is an instrument of that policy. They have to fight to the end without complexes.
Are the opposition’s moves correct, street boycott previously replaced with cabinet boycott?
– I do not know. Now they cannot repeat the Resistance with that mass and therefore do not even try. But they have to remain on the principle of negation of institutions’ legitimacy. They can negotiate, but cannot have a dialogue with the government. You have a dialogue with someone that you have the basis for understanding with. They have to negotiate to save our island of freedom, something of the media freedom, but cannot have a dialogue with dictatorial power. It is a difficult process of negotiation. I wish them luck. They must not treat institutions as real, serious. Perhaps they are in the process of consolidation in the base party. Probably will begin more intensively from September, October, but it is difficult. It is not easy for the opposition. The clash will be fierce.