Deputy PM and FM Nikola Poposki’s interview for TV Nova

Date: 13 July 2016

Reporter: Biljana Trendafilova

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The biggest damage of the crisis is to our European agenda.

The biggest damage caused by the political crisis is to our European agenda, says the head of Macedonian diplomacy, Nikola Poposki for TV Nova.

- If in these past 6-7 years the only thing that put forth as a reason for not opening the EU accession negotiations was Greece’s blockade, now the negative consequences of the political crisis are being mentioned far more frequently. The price we pay includes the European context as well. In relation to funds and the availability of European assets on one hand, there is a series of objective obstacles which are as valid for Macedonia as they are for other candidate countries, and here, we are referring to IPA 2. In the short run, it is question of the level of project realization, i.e., possibility of unused assets. It is not about asset reduction but rather about the reduction of the potential to use the assets. This is a type of plan where the EU says it will put a certain amount at our disposal, but if it feels that the potential to use this amount is lacking or if it notices difficulties in the realization process, then the amount will be reduced. The only way to solve this is to exit the political crisis and to increase confidence by being able to return those assets, says Poposki.

He underlines that US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Euroasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland believes the only way of surpassing the crisis is by holding elections.

-Focus of talks was on foreign political challenges as well as internal developments. In relation to foreign policy, it is certainly in US’ interest for as greater portion of the Balkan Peninsula as possible to be integrated into NATO as soon as possible, while Macedonia should definitely be one of the countries included. The situation concerning this plan hasn’t changed partly due to the unfounded blockade imposed by Greece, but also due to the domestic crisis which is frequently being mentioned in this context. In regard to the political situation in the country, expectations are that the only way of overcoming the crisis is by holding elections. In fact, all efforts in this line are being focused on securing conditions to hold election and to prevent the recurrence of last spring’s events, when we had to postpone elections on two occasions, said Poposki.

In his opinion, the prolonged political crisis does not benefit Macedonia in any way, adding that conditions for holding elections do in fact exist.

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Our foreign policy is a victim of internal political challenges.

Our foreign policy is a victim of internal political challenges, said the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister, Nikola Poposki for TV Nova.

-Everything is being put in context of the political crisis. I wouldn’t bet on outsiders solving this problem for us, nor can they guarantee a solution. We need to overcome this by ourselves with determination and earnestness, said Poposki for TV Nova.

If in these past 6-7 years the only thing that put forth as a reason for not opening the EU accession negotiations was Greece’s blockade, now the negative consequences of the political crisis are being mentioned far more frequently.

- The price we pay includes the European context as well, in relation to funds and the availability of European assets on one hand, there is a series of objective obstacles which are as valid for Macedonia as they are for other candidate countries, and here we are referring to EPA 2. In the short run, it is question of the level of project realization, i.e., possibility of unused assets. It is not about asset reduction but rather about the reduction of the potential to use the assets, says Poposki.

Our problems shouldn’t be solved by outsiders.

We as a country will pay the price if we don’t find a solution to the political crisis, says he Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister, Nikola Poposki.

- Our foreign policy is a victim today of internal political challenges. Everything is being put in context of conditions for overcoming the political crisis. We need a serious public guarantee from the opposition in regard to elections. Any levity or uncertainty will only increase the price we will end up paying. I wouldn’t bet on outsiders solving this problem for us, nor can they guarantee a solution. We need to overcome this by ourselves with determination and earnestness, said Poposki for TV Nova.

He adds that we shouldn’t have another episode where the largest opposition party puts the country in a place of uncertainty by avoiding elections at the last minute.

-Any outside assistance should be directed towards applying pressure for NATO membership and for opening EU accession negotiations, underlines Poposki.

NATO and EU membership implies the perception of stability

Macedonia’s desire to join NATO isn’t based on security reasons since we don’t feel any threat of war. Our interest in becoming a member is a political one, and it is also based on te perception of stability and security, says the head of Macedonia diplomacy, Nikola Poposki for TV Nova.

-Participation in decision-making is much more important. We don’t feel threatened by war and our interest in becoming a member is a political one. The relations we have with our neighbours are highly crucial.

If relations are good, our situation will be much more relaxed, says Poposki.

He adds that this isn’t the time when we can direct a large amount of our energy towards overcoming international disputes.

Now is not the time for solving the name dispute since we are focused on internal challenges

This is a period when we are dedicated to our internal challenges, and Greece too is undoubtedly focused on its own internal problems. This isn’t the time when we can direct a large amount of our energy towards overcoming international disputes, says the head of Macedonian diplomacy, Nikola Gruevski, speaking in context of the recent meeting held with his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotsias during the Summit in Warsaw.

-Moreover, Greece is also engaged in other disputes, with Cyprus and in relation to the government-debt crisis. Talks also focused on other topics intended to increase confidence and cooperation. Recently we have been achieving good results in this aspect and we have raised the level of communication between institutions. It is in our interest to continue along the same line, said Poposki.

According to him, the biggest damage caused by the political crisis is to our European agenda.

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Elections as soon as possible

US Assistant Secretary of State on European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nulland believes the only way of surpassing the crisis is by holding elections, said the head of Macedonian diplomacy, Nikola Poposki for TV Nova.

He added that this prolonged political crisis does not benefit Macedonia in any way, and that conditions for holding elections do in fact exist.

- Macedonia has demonstrated its capacity to hold elections in the past. We have proved this as a country. It is best if the people decide which cabinet should lead them in the next four years. This is not the first time we have organized elections, and we should have them as soon as possible, said Poposki.

SDSM to guarantee that they won’t avoid elections

The opposition to guarantee that they won’t change their mind at the last minute and decide not to participate in the elections, said the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Poposki for TV Nova.

-Excuses are used as reasons to possibly avoid elections. These are not problems, but are rather excuses since they cannot affect the election results. At this time, I cannot precisely say when will all of this be sorted out, but I can say that it will happen soon. And afterwards it will all come down to one thing and that is having their guarantee that the agreed-upon election date will be final and that there will be no more changing their stance, said Poposki.

He underlines that US Assistant Secretary of State on European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nulland believes the only way of surpassing the crisis is by holding elections.

In his opinion, this prolonged political crisis does not benefit Macedonia in any way and adds that conditions for holding elections do in fact exist.

Macedonia will not pay the price for the migrant crisis.

Macedonia has successfully tackled the migrant crisis and we have shown humane approach, said the head of Macedonian diplomacy, Nikola Poposki.

-Macedonia will not pay the price of the migrant crisis. We are far from having the migrant crisis solved within an EU framework. Macedonia helps to overcome this crisis, but under no circumstances will we accept to pay the price in relation to a problem we have not caused and a problem we cannot solve, said Poposki for TV Nova.

In his opinion, the biggest damage caused by our political crisis is to our European agenda.