Zaev and Dimitrov announce another of their EU integration plans

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Faced with the loss of EU perspective, at least in the near term, Zoran Zaev and his Deputy Prime Minister charged with EU integration Nikola Dimitrov announced a new “agenda”. Like the “3-6-9 Agenda” (referring to tasks in the first 3, 6 and 9 months in office) he announced after his power-grab in 2017, and the “Plan 18” announced for 2018, the latest plan to bring Macedonia closer to the EU is titled “Agenda 21” or “Europe at home”. As the title suggests, Zaev is coming to the realization that there will be no actual EU integration any time soon, so the slogan of the day is to “bring European values at home”.

And, as during the anti-corruption “action plan” announced last week, Zaev and Dimitrov made promises that the “Agenda 21” plan will include recommendations from GRECO, the Venice Commission, and other institutions that will reduce corruption and organized crime which the regime is drowning in. Zaev barely survived the escape of former secret service chief Saso Mijalkov, a move that seemed coordinated with him, and continues to face major corruption scandals every other week.

Macedonia is blocked in its EU integration by Bulgaria, which demands serious concessions on issues of history and national identity. This move nearly pushed Dimitrov out of the Govenrment – he was rarely seen in public over the past few months as Bulgaria refuses to meet him and his position remains pointless without EU accession talks. Zaev insisted that Bulgaria will eventually lift the veto, but offered few details.

We are long in this process and we won’t stop. We face challenges but we won’t be discouraged. We continue the political and diplomatic efforts to remove the Bulgarian veto and when we are united and dedicated results will follow, Zaev said.

Dimitrov insisted that the SEP department, meant to conduct the accession talks when (or if) they ever begin, is preparing to follow the new EU enlargement methodology that was put in place after France demanded ways to make the accession progress reversible if it is not satisfied with the performance of the candidate country.

We will review all negotiating structures, ensure appropriate coordination and inclusiveness in the process so that all factors in our society can find their place and we will be ready at the moment we can start, Dimitrov said.

According to the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party, this is another failed plan, like so many before it. “Zaev wasted four years of our lives standing in place and nothing of essence got done”, VMRO said in a press release.