Crisis continues in FYR Macedonia

It seems anti-EU sentiment is not refined to EU member states.

Protests have continued daily in FYROM (FYR Macedonia) for three weeks against a coalition deal between the Social Democratic Union Party and ethnic-Albanian parties and these protests have at times had anti-EU elements to them.

Protesters believe the deal would threaten national unity in the country and they see the coalition as being supported and funded by the West.

President Gjorge Ivanov is refusing to let the coalition take power in Skopje, believing them to be puppets of neighbouring Albania.

The ethnic Albanian parties are pushing for Albanian to be recognised as a second official language as a condition for joining a coalition government.

The crisis has turned the West and Russia against each other, with warnings coming from all angles.

The EU has warned President Ivanov that FYR Macedonia will face sanctions if he continues to stand in the way of democracy.

Meanwhile the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed that the crisis in Macedonia has been provoked artificially, and that there have been attempts to split the society, adding that the West should ‘realise the danger of such attempts’.

On Wednesday, signs were carried by protesters accusing SDU leader Zoran Zaev, who is pro-EU, of being ‘a puppet’ for Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros.

These signs accompanied pro-Trump and anti-EU signs and banners.

Zaev came second in the December elections winning 49 seats, while his conservative rival Nikola Gruevski’s party won just two more seats. With just two seats between them, the Albanian parties hold the balance of power.

Protesters feel that they are protecting their nationhood and identity, in country already struggling to assert its national identity.

Over a quarter of people who live in FYR Macedonia are ethnic-Albanians, with just over 60% being ethnic Macedonians.

Their language, known as Macedonian, has been described as a dialect of Bulgarian and Greece refuses to recognise the name ‘Macedonia’ as Μακεδονία was an ancient Greek kingdom. FYR Macedonia has claimed much of the history of the ancient Greek kingdom as their own, including Alexander the Great and the Vergina Sun on their national flag.


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