A roundtable discussion on A Euro-Atlantic Future for Macedonia? was held on 3 September 2018 in Skopje. The roundtable focused on the role the EU and NATO on the European future of Macedonia, the impact of the progress of Macedonia on the Western Balkans, as well as the experience of neighbouring countries.
The event was organized by the European Policy Institute (EPI), the Institute for Democracy “Societas Civilis” and the Center for Economic Analyses, in cooperation with the Aspen Institute in Berlin. Speakers included Mr. Ruslan Stefanov, Director of the Economic Program of the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) and representative of the SELDI Network, Mr. Nikola Dimitrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Nikola Poposki, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Macedonia, and Ambassador Dr. Christian Helbach, the Special Representative for Southeastern Europe, Turkey and the EFTA countries of FR Germany.
Mr. Stefanov suggested that even if the referendum on the future name of Macedonia has a positive outcome, which is seen as the key hurdle to the country’s EU integration, it would only represent the beginning of the real reforms that Macedonia has to complete. He further remarked that after joining NATO and the EU, Bulgaria had a wider agenda and more obligations compared to the pre-accession period. Mr. Stefanov commented that Macedonia can become an important and strategic partner for the EU and NATO only if it fully commits to be part of the Western alliance and to meet its goals. He also noted that joining NATO and the EU should not be seen as an end to itself – the real challenge that the country is faced with is assuring better quality of life for its citizens, through focusing on tackling corruption and poverty.