Macedonia’s instability has huge implications for the Balkans

Leader of VMRO-DPMNE, former Macedonian Prime Minister Nicola Guevski celebrates his party’s victory in the December 11, 2016 elections.
Former Prime Minister Nicola Gruevski is at the center of a wiretapping scandal that ignited a political crisis in Macedonia now entering its third year (source: dpa)
  • Macedonia is nowhere near solving its internal and external challenges
  • NATO and European Union membership still look far off
  • Without Western support, the country could turn toward Russia
  • China is also making a play for economic influence in the country

Macedonia is becoming the Balkans’ biggest security dilemma. It held parliamentary elections in December, but the winning party has failed to form a government. The outcome of the ongoing political crisis could have a long-term impact on the region disproportionate to the country’s small size, because it might signal which way the Balkans will tilt in the future: toward the West or Russia (politically) and toward China or Turkey (economically). The country has many unresolved domestic and foreign challenges, including a dispute with Greece over its name, as well as ethnic conflict and a political crisis at home. Unless Macedonia resolves these problems, its aspirations to join the European Union and NATO could be in jeopardy, and the country could change its strategic orientation.

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