Brussels’ Balkan Policy Resembles Bad Version of Eurovision
Many things have since changed: Eurovision has become a show in which both European and non-European countries, including Australia, compete. Yugoslavia is long gone; Croatia has joined the EU; Cutugno's Italy is meanwhile ruled by political elites who do not sing "Together" with much joy any longer, while "reunited Europe" is becoming increasingly divided.
From the perspective of North Macedonia, this year's Eurovision, held in Israel, brought some novelties; the country took part for the first time under its new name of North Macedonia and achieved its best score ever. Represented by Tamara Todevska, her song, "Proud", got the most points from the professional juries across the continent.
But it was not enough. The main prize went to Duncan Laurence with "Arcade" from the Netherlands, which won the hearts and minds of the public. Despite North Macedonia's near victory, many Macedonians now believe the country should withdraw from Eurovision completely, since, due to "politics", they consider winning Eurovision as unlikely as getting EU membership.
You often hear that "they", meaning the EU, "do not want us"; and this feeling of being unwanted may intensify as the promised start to EU accession talks comes under question.
Once again the political jury, in this case the European Commission, and the equivalent of "tele-voters" - the European Council - report different points to the "green room"; the Council often appears hesitant to accept the recommendations of the European Commission on the start of accession talks.
This tension over the "points" given to countries dates back to the 2003 Thessaloniki Summit, when the idea of Western Balkan integration into the EU was formally raised. The idea of a once war-torn region...