FYROM’s dilemma over recognition of Kosovo

The current political crisis in Skopje is nothing more than a form of Albanian pressure on the Slav-Macedonian political elite. This time there have been no overt irredentist tendencies as earlier in the decade. Washington will not allow it, and moreover, this time the Albanian nationalists’ priority is the recognition of Kosovo, and not to open up of a new front. This time, FYROM’s Albanians used parliamentary institutions to force the government to respect their rights in full and to recognize the independence of Kosovo. The Slav-Macedonians do not want to upset their relations with Belgrade, but the main reason they have not taken the step is that they themselves feel threatened by growing Albanian nationalism. On the other hand, they do not have much political margin for not recognizing it, first of all because they are in vital need of Washington. Secondly, if Albanian parties stay outside the government, it will have a destabilizing effect on the unity of FYROM. Elections will not provide a way out, because the correlation of parliamentary forces will not change radically. In other words, the Slav-Macedonian political leadership has no alternative. So it is likely, sooner or later, to recognize Kosovo. The cause of the political crisis has nothing to do with the name issue, it means simply that there will be very few chances for reaching an agreement before the NATO summit. However, this does not affect Greece. Slav-Macedonians are using their instability as a political argument, but it is pure propaganda. The name is their own business, not that of the Albanians. Therefore, it cannot serve as a rallying point.

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