North Macedonia

Northern Macedonia: Separate political entities on the issue of nationality in the new identity cards

There is a difference of opinion in Northern Macedonia between political entities on whether nationality should be written on new identity cards or not. For some it is necessary, for others, there is no such thing in world practice.

While President Stevo Pendarovski disagrees that nationality should be on ID cards, as this is a practice not adopted by any democracy in the world, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev believes it sometimes makes sense to have different views with the President on certain issues. although they believe in the same values

“There is no democratic state in the world where ethnic or religious beliefs are registered. I have no problem, I do not think that if this law is passed with such a provision it will dissolve the state, nor will there be negative consequences. “Personally, I do not agree, but if they vote that way, I will sign the decree, although I do not agree that this information should be included in the identity cards,” Pendarovski said.

According to Zaev, it is good for the president to sign the decree if the majority approves the law.

“Sometimes we who believe in the same values ​​in some respects change and that makes a lot of sense. However, the president is the first citizen of the country, this to me is something worth mentioning; in the first meeting we will discuss the arguments. “All ethnic communities in the country will be taken into account, but citizenship is a feature that is mandatory in all documents, and nowhere is it forbidden or restricted to be ethnic,” Zaev said yesterday.

He recalled that the political party BESA presented and supported the legal proposal in 2019 when the constitutional amendments were adopted and that it is functioning with a special word within the ruling coalition.

“BESA asked for it, then they gave their arguments, then publicly and until then the government announced that this is acceptable, of course we reviewed it and this is in the spirit of the Prespa Agreement. The identity card is an identification document and in a multinational society, when the smallest ethnic communities are possible, we should not be silent. The larger community is not lost; “Macedonians, Albanians, everyone will be registered,” said Zaev.

He stressed that the arguments were reviewed by expert services and referred to the Prespa Agreement.

“Importers, it is important to fully respect the citizenship, where the Macedonians / citizens of the Republic of Northern Macedonia are. “The national identity of Macedonians is confirmed by the Prespa Agreement, as well as the Macedonian language, and there is absolutely no threat to any interest,” Zaev said.

The leader of the main opposition party, Hristijan Mickoski, said that VMRO-DPMNE claims that the nationality should be in the ID cards and passports and does not support the change of the name of the “Republic of Macedonia”. That is why, he says, there is a five-year period that must be applied to personal identity documents and passports.

As for the proposal to register citizenship on identity cards, he called on Zaev, if he really wants, for the government to submit a law with a European flag to Parliament.

“If Zaev really wants to do this, why not do it now and present the law in Parliament with a European flag, so that I can be recognized as a Macedonian. “It is absolutely true that there is a serious remark about this from an ambassador of a neighboring country,” Mickoski said.

He believes that the coalition between SDSM and BESA is based on glass legs, because Zaev, after being reprimanded by a foreign diplomat, withdrew what was agreed during the formation of the coalition, namely to include the nationality of citizens in the identity card.

The United Party for Macedonia (OM) has said in a written statement that it does not support the inclusion of nationality in identities and calls on those proposing it to review the proposal and make a better analysis of the possible consequences.

According to them, nationality is an individual right to self-determination.

“Individual freedom is for every person to feel and be what he is. “Even in the federal states and in the countries where there are more nationalities, nationality is not written, it is a sacred right for individual freedom and democracy”, declare the party “United for Macedonia”.

On the other hand, Greece expects continued respect for the Prespa Agreement and does not want to comment on what the opposition is saying in northern Macedonia.

“We hope and expect continued respect for the provisions of the Prespa Agreement, which is one of the points, criteria related to the process of accession of Northern Macedonia to the EU,” said Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexandros Papaioannou.

Asked about VMRO-DPMNE’s request not to include the “North” surname in identities, Papaioannou said he would not comment on “what the opposition in Northern Macedonia says”.

“What I want to say is what Nikos Dendias said when Bujar Osmani was here. Of course, we hope and expect continued compliance with the provisions of the Prespa Agreement, which is one of the points, the criteria mentioned in the process of accession of Northern Macedonia and the start of negotiations with the EU. “I would not like to comment on what VMRO says in this case,” said a representative of the Greek Foreign Ministry.

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