FYROM: Constitutional changes

by Dimitris Constantakopoulos

(“Ependytis”, 17-18 November, 2001)

[…] Anyway, few people believe that the vote in favour of constitutional reform will resolve the internal squabbling between Macedonian Slavs and Albanians in Skopje (FYROM). The former are, justifiably, under the impression that the agreement was forced upon them by NATO and the EU — who, indeed, did everything in their power to avert a referendum, since it seems that the “democratization” of former eastern bloc countries involves important decisions being made about them in Brussels and Washington! The Albanians, for their part, look upon the agreement as a staging post on the way to gaining full autonomy from Skopje (FYROM). The Macedonian Slav country’s only claim to historical legitimacy, within the confines of Yugoslavia and even more so, as an independent state, lies in the fact that it is home to the “Macedonian Slav people” or whatever you like to call them. There is no reason why the Albanians should want to remain a minority in a “multi-ethnic” state when what constituted its largest multi-ethnic unit, former Yugoslavia, has been broken up. Neither is there any reason why the Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo, or the Serbs and Croats in Bosnia should want to do so, and so on.

They only agreed to this prospect under pressure from the West and will try to undermine it in practice, making sure that, on the one hand, the central government gives them as much authority as possible, while also ensuring that they are given as much say as possible in central government affairs. On the other hand, the Macedonian Slavs will endeavour to avoid putting into practice what they have agreed to on paper.

With the international community unwilling to provide the necessary funds and take whatever political action is needed to prevent the Balkans becoming a European “black hole”, serious questions are being asked about what, if any, Greece’s national aims in the Balkans are, and to what extent the presence of Greek forces in the area furthers these aims.


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