The promises have been broken, and what Zaev and Rama are afraid of becomes realistic
Zoran Zaev, prime minister of North Macedonia, said in an interview that he feared a return to his ethnically divided country's "bad past", including a narrowly averted civil war in 2001. Edi Rama, prime minister of Albania, said in a separate interview that his country risked becoming "collateral damage" from the EU's divisions over enlargement, "Financial Times" reports.
"The warnings from both Balkan leaders underline analysts' fears that the EU's failure to proceed with both countries' accession process will destabilize a geopolitically delicate region where the influence of other countries including Russia and China is growing", FT reports.
It is reiterated that French President Emmanuel Macron had blocked opening accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania, with the Netherlands and Denmark also opposing negotiations with Tirana. Both Balkan countries have complained that the EU is not meeting its side of agreement.
Zaev said that he was worried that a sensitive agreement he negotiated with Greece last year to rename his country could be reopened due to growing nationalist sentiment.
"If there is enough nationalist rhetoric, radical acting and speeches in North Macedonia, that will give arguments to Greek politicians to use the same kind of rhetoric, and in return, that can lead everyone to take concrete steps which will not be good for my region or my country", Zaev warned, pointing out the multiethnic nature of its country mainly populated by Macedonians and ethnic Albanians.
Zaev has already said he will resign as a sing of disapproving with EU policy, adding that the agreement with Athens could be in jeopardy if his party does not win on the next elections.
In Tirana, Mr Rama said that the decision not to open...