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CrisisWatch Macedonia

Unchanged Situation

Small ethnic Albanian party DPA – Movement for Reforms, which holds three seats in parliament, 12 July said it would withdraw support for PM Zaev’s new govt unless it adopts law extending official use of Albanian “within a reasonable time”. Matthew Nimetz, UN special envoy in longstanding dispute between Macedonia and Greece over use of name Macedonia, following visit to Skopje and Athens early July said no breakthrough in name talks anticipated in coming months; Zaev late month told Politico if Greek side is “prepared to help us, we are prepared to think about everything that will be helpful”. Macedonia and Bulgaria 13 July agreed text of friendship treaty, to be signed 1 Aug, to end historic tensions and improve relations. Appeals Court 24 July rejected plea by special prosecutor to detain former PM Gruevski and other former ministers ahead of their trials for election fraud. Helsinki Committee for Human Rights 25 July reported sharp rise in hate crimes over previous year, nearly half apparently with ethnic motive, many with political motive. Joint military exercise with U.S. began in central Macedonia late July.

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The Western Balkans: Fragile Majorities

Political instability keeps growing in the Western Balkans amid geopolitical contests and increased tensions with Russia. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2017 – First Update early-warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to engage intensively to ensure the political space for avoiding more serious crisis does nto entirely vanish in the Western Balkans.

Macedonia: Defusing the Bombs

Macedonia is being shaken by twin political and security crises, both of which could escalate into violent confrontation or worse. While another civil war in the Western Balkans is not imminent, there is a serious threat to regional stability that the country’s leaders and international partners need to contain.

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The Macedonian revolution to come

Just two years ago it appeared that deadly conflict in Macedonia was no longer a serious risk. Recent events have revived the threat.

Originally published in POLITICO