Timonie against Timonie: Macron recognized the reforms, but we are the ones not ready!
If official Paris was not satisfied with the European Commission’s reports or if they had insights that some countries falsely encouraged the Macedonian authorities, then they should have resolved the issue inside the Union. In this manner, together with the recognition by President Macron that North Macedonia has done its homework, but that the Union was not prepared for enlargement, the attempts of Ambassador Timonie to emphasize the under-performing reforms are a distortion of the truth, i.e. spin
Author: Teofil Blaževski
The French Ambassador in Skopje, Christian Timonie, at a press conference attempted to convince the Macedonian public that the failure to receive the starting date for the membership accession negotiations was due to insufficiently implemented reforms, which we deem as a distortion of the truth, i.e. spin:
Spin: “Further progress is needed, and not just on paper but also in practice. The implementation on the ground does not always correspond to the expectations for strengthening the rule of law, thus proving that certain structural problems continue to exist, such as youth emigration.”
[Source: DW-Тимоние: Прашање е дали сте пример во регионот, date: 24 October 2019]
It is likely that the French Ambassador to the Republic of North Macedonia will, at first, ask himself why this sentence has been deemed a spin, a distorted truth when it is a de facto reality that is neither denied by the government, nor by analysts, nor by citizens!?
The answer is simple – it is spin at the present case because the ambassador is trying to convince the public that Paris denied a date because we have not done our homework assigned to us at the EU Summit in June 2018. Moreover, in June 2019 this issue was not opened for discussion, since neither Paris nor Berlin were ready because of the Euro-elections and the Bundestag commitments. Now, at last, on the this summit, the debate had essentially been started, and Skopje did not receive the date due to unfinished reforms!
The distortion of the truth or the spin was actually emphasized by the ambassador himself 20 minutes into his press conference:
I believe that everything remains open (about the possible change of attitude of President Macron) and nothing was closed on his press conference. Before us is the Zagreb horizon that will happen soon, and for which work has already begun on the French side, because we know that the problem is not pointing the finger at North Macedonia, as himself (Macron) has acknowledged the implemented reforms. We should always say that you have to be ready and we have to be ready as well and that is the reality – we are not ready and this enlargement methodology needs to be worked on…
Timonie said two things. Firstly, that Macron recognized the implemented reforms in the country, and secondly, that France, and another part of EU, were not ready for the enlargement.
Why does the ambassador try to emphasize the insufficiently implemented reforms, the fact that we have not been an example in the region or that others have lied to us, alluding to the European Commission that wrote problematic reports or to some other countries that have promised us a date?
We will give an assumption – to reduce the anger of the public in the country towards France and instead of that, citizens to start blaming the authorities for not working properly.
To put it mildly, this is an unfair approach of the French representative in North Macedonia because, if Paris was not satisfied with the European Commission’s reports or had insights that come countries have falsely encouraged Macedonian authorities, they should have resolved these issues within the Union. The same happened at the summit in June when the country was promised a date in June 2019 if it met certain conditions in 4 areas. Now, there was not a sign for possible postponement of the decision in October, and before this summit, there was no hint, at least not publically, that a date could be denied because of reforms.
After all, whether it is about reforms or it is a wrong (and unfair) decision towards RN Macedonia, today’s European Parliament Resolution says enough (except for a series of statements by influential European and American politicians). With this Resolution, EU leaders (in this particular case Macron and maybe several others) are again invited to start negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, and it is stated that denying a date on the last summit was a strategic mistake. As a piece of information for the Macedonian public, this resolution was passed with 412 votes in favor, 136 against and 30 abstentions, i.e. by a large majority of MEPs.
Having in mind the given arguments, the effort of the French Ambassador Timonie to put forward a stance that Skopje was denied a date for negotiations due to unfinished reforms is deemed distorted truth, i.e. spin.