AGREEMENT ON HOPE AND CONCERN RELATED TO IDENTITY
By Bardhyl ZAIMI
The debate over the Prespa Agreement has repeatedly been followed by party clashes, which has essentially affected the sphere of identity. The approach to the constitutional changes under this agreement is voted by all parties, with the exception of VMRO-DPMNE, which turned down the agreement, considering it detrimental to the Macedonian identity.
During this period, the opposition political parties of the Albanian bloc also submitted amendments to some changes in the preamble, which, according to them, strengthen the position of Albanians in the constitution. Prime Minister Zaev has already accepted some of the demands of the Alliance for Albanians for some definitions in the preamble seen by Sela’s party as problematic for the concept of equality for all citizens.
After the meeting with Prime Minister Zaev, the leader of the AA said that “from today we will not have two categories of citizens, citizens and other citizens, but there will be the Macedonian people, the Albanian people, the Turkish people, etc.” Prime Minister Zaev also expressed satisfaction with the agreement reached with AA. “Some words will be deleted from the preamble, so that there is no feeling that someone here is temporary,” he said after the meeting.
During this period, it was also announced that Prime Minister Zaev announced the acceptance of Bilal Kasami’s proposal for the Besa Movement to delete the word “Macedonian” for Albanian citizens in personal documents. It is unclear whether the question of 20 percent will be accepted, which was also one of the demands of the opposition parties from the Albanian political bloc. The leader of AA, Ziyadin Sela, noted that they would continue to insist on this issue in the future.
It seems that with the agreements with the opposition parties from the Albanian political bloc Prime Minister Zaev has already secured the necessary majority to approve the Prespa Agreement in Parliament, which is considered a historic and indisputable condition for the process of Macedonia’s membership in NATO and the EU. In a recent interview, the US Ambassador to Macedonia Jess Baily also called the agreement a historic one. All international representatives have approved this agreement, which is estimated to end dilemmas about Macedonia’s strategic orientation, opening a European perspective.
The majority of citizens see the agreement as a hope of exiting the long transitional abyss and entering into other coordinates of affirmation and economic development at a time when many young people leave the country.
Undoubtedly, others see it with skepticism and concern about the identity, which is politically portrayed by opposition political parties in the Macedonian and Albanian political blocs. Discourses against the agreement and reserve discourses are present in public. These discourses are constantly associated with identity issues, which seem to have a reduced intensity in the last hours before the agreement is adopted. These discourses will probably be transferred in the coming period in the form of electoral political battles. One of those battles will quickly be at the threshold of the presidential election.
The identity issues certainly remain a dynamic category in the public space in the dimensions of political and cultural performance. Discourses on identity issues in the political and cultural sphere remain unfinished, and this all means a modern paradigm in which we hope to introduce Macedonia.
Democracy remains a permanent debate, while politics remains an activity that has the man in the epicenter. In the European vision, identity issues are subject to uninterrupted debate, but always above argument premises and on performance and another concept that is correlated with European values. On the difficult but irreversible path to these values, nothing ends once and for all. It is a deep and multidimensional process that requires dedication, tolerance and above all a constant commitment to keep the political and social horizon open towards the European political and cultural premises that have already dimensioned identity issues to other levels.
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