Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Macedonia: A Balkan Success Story

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Macedonia: A Balkan Success Story

Article excerpt

One of the less familiar guests at the Labour conference this year will be Vlado Buckovski, the youthful prime minister of Macedonia, who has been invited to Brighton by Tony Blair. Macedonia may be off most people's radar screens now, as at any other time, but it is close to pulling off a medium-sized miracle. In November and December, the European Commission and Council of Ministers will rule on whether this country of two million people can have a date for negotiations on EU membership. This is remarkable, given that only four years ago Macedonia was sliding towards civil war. The Albanians, who make up almost a third of the population, took to the hills with their guns before the EU and the US managed to bring the two sides to the negotiating table, where eventually they signed the Ohrid Agreement.

This has been a European success, with Albanian leaders exchanging fatigues for shirts and ties and now sitting happily as part of Buckovski's cabinet in Skopje. The integration of Albanians into the police, military and civil service has been accepted by the majority population, which is Slav, and for the first time Macedonian and Albanian students are studying together at a European-sponsored university in Tetovo, the main battleground in the civil war.

Macedonia's progress stands in sharp contrast to the lamentable situation of its neighbour, Kosovo. Six years of rule by the UN and a Nato-led peacekeeping force has left Albanians and Serbs (also Slavs) harbouring profound feelings of mutual distrust and enmity. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.