She followed in the footsteps of her Austrian counterpart and the NATO Secretary General who also came to the country to show their support for its government’s proposal to rename it “North Macedonia”. This so-called “compromise name” was agreed to with Greece earlier this summer and would subsequently allow the country to be fast-tracked into the EU and NATO after Athens drops its objections to its membership that were previously made on the supposed basis that Macedonia’s constitutional name implies territorial claims against it.
Germany therefore understandably has an interest in the outcome of the upcoming referendum, but the amount of high-profile foreign lobbying in support of the “yes” vote wouldn’t be necessary if the Macedonian people were solidly behind this move, which they aren’t, and that deserves to be analyzed a bit more in depth. Simply put, Merkel’s visit and that of the two other leaders before her confirms that the West is worried that the patriotic opposition’s campaign to boycott the vote will prove how unpopular and illegitimate the proposed name change is, thus throwing a spanner in their plans to expand the EU and NATO.
Merkel’s actual meddling serves the purpose of signaling to the post-Color Revolution Macedonian authorities that Germany – and therefore the entire EU – won’t contest the results if the “yes” vote wins amid loud accusations of fraud, which essentially gives the government a free hand to manipulate the outcome as it pleases. This makes her direct political intervention into the country’s sovereign affairs all the more hypocritical because it proves that the EU really does expand by hook or by crook in spite of its claims of being a bastion of “democracy”.
Full article: Merkel Is Meddling In Macedonia’s Referendum (Oriental Review)