The clear failure of Macedonia’s referendum is bitter for many, even if the result is not binding. It is bitter for the government in Skopje, for the government in Athens, for supporters in the EU, Nato and in the region.
Nothing has been lost yet, but the referendum’s result demonstrates a sentiment among the population that gives food for thought. Even if 90 percent of those who went to the polls voted yes — as some now sugarcoat it — the vast majority remained silent or even actively boycotted the vote.
In doing so, the broad support that was hoped for is lacking for a process that had clearly linked three future issues: the naming agreement with Greece, and the integration of the Balkan state into the EU and Nato. As such, the failed referendum is also a wake-up call not only for developments in the country itself, but also for the future geopolitical orientation of the Balkan state.
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(Macedonian prime minister Zoran Zaev photo: vlada.mk)