## Saturday, September 14, 2019 ... //

### EU with North Macedonia (and others?) would be a better one

On Friday 13th, Czech prosecutors stopped all the prosecution of PM Babiš and his accomplices in the Stork Nest subsidy fraud scandal. Well, I find it almost obvious that it's a consequence of Babiš's recent replacement of the minister of justice and a few other changes – and that Babiš is guilty – but in principle, only \$2 million is really involved in this stuff and sadly, there are much worse things we must be worried about.

On the same day, Prague saw a meeting of the Visegrád Group prime ministers and they recommended something that could be embraced by the rest of the European Union – they demanded EU accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania.

14 months ago, I enthusiastically backed the new name of the Slavic country in the former kingdom of ancient Greece, North Macedonia.

I think that within a year, everyone got completely used to the new name and it's a solution that simply makes perfect sense. Greece no longer complains about the name of the country – which coincides with the name of the adjacent region of Greece – and it was the main obstacle from North Macedonia's EU membership.

As the map at the top shows, several countries in the Balkan peninsula remain out of the EU. They are depicted in yellow-orange-red. Well, Turkey on the Eastern side is also out of the EU and should have similar colors but imagine that you fix the problem with the map that I embedded.

These yellow-orange-red non-members of the EU are generally referred to "Western Balkans" countries because they are on the Western side of the peninsula. More technically, "Western Balkans" is a neologism that covers Albania plus Yugoslavia – minus Slovenia that is already considered to be "outside the Balkans".

You should look at the map of the Western Balkans if you're not too familiar with any details about Yugoslavia's successor states. OK, Slovenia has always been the most Westernized Yugoslav nation, speaking its own Slavic language. It's adjacent to Italy and Austria and it wouldn't really care too much if it were annexed by either. Slovenia is arguably the post-communist world's most Westernized nation if you include the PC culture that has spread over the small nation.

Slovenia was the first Yugoslav EU member, followed by Croatia. You see that Croatia has the shape of a horseshoe and Bosnia-and-Herzegovina is sitting inside. That's no coincidence. They're parts of a former country – and Bosnia-and-Herzegovina is the territory occupied by the Turks/Muslims at some moment. The true Croats (who remained Catholic) had to escape and they got concentrated in the horseshoe.

On the East from Croatia and Bosnia, you see Serbia which is Orthodox, like most of the Montenegro. Those were a unified country up to a 2006 referendum in Montenegro. It was still very fashionable to treat Serbia as a bad boy so everyone – including 55.5% of Montenegrin folks – wanted to say "No" to Serbia.

Now, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia-and-Herzegovina, and Montenegro basically speak the same language, "Serbo-Croatian", but they prefer to label their version of the language as separate languages politically. You should understand that Slovenian is a very different language, and so is yet another language, Macedonian. The latter is extremely close to Bulgarian.

Kovovo, the cradle of Serbia's statehood, was recently stolen by the Kosovo Albanians who are mostly Muslims. Two days ago, Czech president Zeman revived his claims that he's working on the reversal of the Czech recognition of the "Kosovo state" because its leaders are war criminals. As you may imagine, they didn't send its representative to the Prague summit on Friday 13th. That's a good idea, instead of the Prague [sic], these people should be sent to the Hague. ;-)

Fine, so Slovenia and Croatia are EU members now. Serbia and Montenegro have been negotiating the EU accession since 2012-2013. Bosnia-and-Herzegovina and Kosovo are reasonably left behind – which is sensible partly because they're Muslim nations. And North Macedonia and Albania are now recommended by the Visegrád countries to join the EU accession talks, too.

Well, as Viktor Orbán pointed out, North Macedonia – which only has some 2 million people – would be an excellent addition, partly because it has done more work than e.g. Greece in protecting the continent against the invasion. Somewhat surprisingly, anti-mass-migration North Macedonia's accession talks will almost certainly be backed by Merkel's Germany.

The fate of Albania – which is still one of the most isolated countries in Europe but it is no longer too poor – is unclear. Note that Islam is also the main religion in Albania but it's below 60% over there.

Some new members who could be closer to the Visegrád's attitudes to mass migration and similar things would be welcome. On top of that, when the territory of the EU gets larger, the integration may also get shallower – which is a good thing.