North Macedonia in 2022: New Govt – and EU Hopes – Rest on Thin Ice

North Macedonia starts 2022 with a new PM and largely refreshed cabinet that will have no time to spare, as both the government and the country’s stalled EU process are in a precarious, volatile state.
It was a tough 2021 for North Macedonia. On top of the ongoing health, economic and power crises, the year saw a renewed Bulgarian blockade blocking the start of EU accession talks as well as local elections which prompted the resignation of pro-European PM and ruling Social Democrat leader Zoran Zaev near the year’s end.

The year 2022 promises to be just as challenging, with all the political and social problems inherited from last year, a likely fresh push from the opposition for early general elections, and an EU accession bid that depends on the vague prospect of new talks with Bulgaria.

It will all fall on the shoulders of the new PM and Social Democratic leader Dimitar Kovacevski, who replaced Zaev in December.

Described by some as a pragmatic politician who might be able to steer the ship to calmer waters, he is a relative newcomer, and a political unknown for the public – whose ability to deal with the multiple obstacles remains to be seen.

Kovacevski’s new cabinet is expected to formally assume office by the end of this week.

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