- Macedonia’s failed referendum strengthened Moscow’s hand there
- The country’s EU and NATO membership is almost sure to be delayed
- The resulting strategic vacuum will cause domestic and regional instability
On September 30, 94 percent of voters in Macedonia’s referendum cast their ballots in favor of adopting a new name for the country and working toward European Union and NATO membership. The convincing result, however, was soured by a boycott. With just under 37 percent turnout, the results were legally invalid – a 50 percent minimum was required.
Russia applauded the referendum’s failure, while the West expressed concern for Macedonia’s strategic direction. The question now is whether the country will become a new East-West border state, continually tugged in either direction, or whether it will still achieve its Euro-Atlantic ambitions.