Capital city of North Macedionia – Skopje – regularly registered the most polluted cities in Europe, and sometimes in the world.
In 2018, levels of PM10 – tiny pollutant particles 10 nanometres in size that are harmful to human health – exceeded he European Union limits for a total of 202 days.
While North Macedonia is not part of the EU, it has entered accession negotiations and has some way to go to meet EU ecological air quality standards.
At present, the World Health Organization (WTO) has estimated that around 4,000 premature deaths a year in North Macedonia may be due to air pollution, and the economic cost to Skopje is thought to be between €570 and €1,470 million.
North Macedonia is likely to gain the European Union support to start membership talks later this year, according to the EU diplomats.
“North Macedonia has a good chance, given the historic resolution of its name issue,” the diplomatic source confirmed.
The name change from Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to Republic of North Macedonia has offered Skopje momentum and is highly likely to persuade Paris, Berlin and The Hague to back EU talks.
Image above: Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, Johannes Hahn, Member of the EC in charge of European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, receive Zoran Zaev, Prime Minister of North Macedonia.
Macedonia can’t exist without Bulgaria, and Bulgaria can’t exist without Macedonia – they are two parts of one whole’’, said the historian prof. Plamen Pavlov for Radio Focus. He commented that we are witnesses of tides in the relations between the two countries, and passiveness from the Bulgarian side. According to him, diplomatic talks between the two countries should be more specific. Prof. Pavlov suggests there should be more active dialogue:
‘’Macedonism is the GMO of history and culture. In the National museum of Macedonia, you can see some stuff, but it is like someone stole something and tries to hide it. This can’t happen with a magical wand. In so many years of anti-Bulgarian propaganda and brainwashing, which continues to date, we must be more persistent, and have more active dialogue and presence.”
“I strongly condemn yesterday’s attacks on members of Parliament in Skopje. Violence has no place in any parliament. I call on all political actors to show calm, restraint, and respect for the democratic process. Political dialogue is the only reasonable and appropriate way forward, and is in the best interest of all citizens of the country,” – said the statement of the Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg.
“A majority of members of Parliament have elected a new speaker of Parliament. This is a positive step in resolving the ongoing political impasse. The democratic process must be respected,” – demanded Stoltenberg.
“The authorities have a solemn responsibility to uphold the rule of law, and ensure the security of Parliament and its members at all times. Acts of violence like those we saw yesterday must not be allowed to happen again,” – concludes the statement of NATO Secretary General.
The European Parliament resolution urges the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FROM° to swiftly form a new and stable government, stay on its EU integration path and fully commit to robust reforms in the areas of rule of law, justice, corruption, fundamental rights, home affairs and good neighbourly relations. Once there is tangible progress in implementing the 2015 Pržino agreement and urgent reform priorities, the European Parliament is in favour of opening EU accession negotiations, MEPs say.
They regret that Skopje is still backsliding on the reform of judiciary and deplore recurrent political interference in the appointment and promotion of judges and prosecutors. MEPs are also concerned about the political attack on the Special Prosecutor’s Office and obstruction of its work.
Rapporteur Ivo Vajgl said “It is of utmost importance for Macedonia to have a new government with solid support within the Parliament. After the first failed attempt to form a government, the President of Macedonia should proceed according to the country’s Constitution and in line with democratic practices, and give the mandate to the party that can pull Macedonia out of its political crisis. The resolution on the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was passed by 54 votes to 8.