Macedonia Parties Reject Unity Govt

resizer29Macedonia’s ruling VMRO-DPMNE party and the country’s largest opposition movement, the Social Democrats, have ruled out the formation of a government of national unity.

The unity administration proposal was raised Friday by a smaller opposition movement, the New Social Democrats, NSDP. 

The NSDP argued that a unity government would more effectively address current economic problems and the ongoing spat with Greece over the country’s name. In doing so, joint governance would improve Macedonia’s prospects for entering NATO and, later, the EU, they said.

Responding to the proposal Friday, the VMRO DPMNE argued that the opposition should instead focus its efforts on creating “a better atmosphere for the quicker integration of Macedonia with the European Union.”

The Social Democrats responded that the unity appeal was “extremely inappropriate and frivolous,” arguing that the VMRO DPMNE holds all power in the country and has the responsibility to set things right.

Skopje hopes that a European Commission, EC, report this autumn will propose that Macedonia start EU accession talks. While granted the status of an EU candidate country in 2005, Macedonia has not qualified for the next step, the EC argued in previous annual reports, citing insufficient reforms.

Macedonia’s NATO bid is also on hold after Greece vetoed moves to present Skopje with a membership invitation.

Greece is demanding that Macedonia change its formal name, arguing that the current formulation implies territorial claims over areas of northern Greece. UN-brokered talks to end the dispute are underway but there have been no signs of an imminent breakthrough.

Meanwhile, the Macedonian economy is teetering on the verge of recession, ending a sustained period of positive economic trends.

The government argues that the economic crisis is a global phenomenon, while the opposition blames it for ignoring the crisis and botching moves to address the downturn.

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