A Family at Risk of Running Stir-Crazy – North Macedonia’s Forthcoming NATO Ac-cession and the Backlash for the EU

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No day without corona news in these times. And people who are lucky enough not to live in areas of the world that are affected to a more than worrying extent have (too) much time with their beloved ones. This makes phenomena like running crazy in the home office spread faster than the virus.

Indeed, things that were taken for granted yesterday are far from self-evident the next day. Does this hold for international organizations as well? Let us take NATO, condemned by some as the geopolitical dinosaur having survived the Cold War and acclaimed by others as the strategic tool for the future. If one gives credence to the oftentimes euphemistical words chosen by officials like Jens Stoltenberg, NATO is nothing else but a big family. A gun fanatic family, perhaps, but let us leave that aside for now.

As a family of various generations, from the grandparents like the US and the UK to some kind of first Erasmus generation grown-ups like Poland and Latvia to the latest member of Montenegro, now in kindergarten age. But tough times for each family are also good news for NATO these days. The alliance expects a baby!

Since the junior’s somewhat leery uncle Greece was quite hesitant, to say the least, about the child’s initial name, it is now known as North Macedonia. And with one of the middle-aged family members, Spain, giving its blessing last week, the delivery is imminent.

And as reasonable as the criticism of many people within the family and its neighborhood appears, most prominently the old family archenemy, Mother Russia, one should not forget that NATO membership still equals stability and a higher degree of predictability. And who does not seek for predictability in those days? Hence, one can congratulate the brothers in arms, oh pardon, the North Atlantic family, to its addition to the community.

However, as anything in politics, the step bears some ambiguity, too. This is not only in respect of Russia of course which should by no means be perceived as nothing but the grumpy neighbor of the family but also when transferring the enlargement process to NATO’s less weapon fanatic sister, the EU.

North Macedonia was promised quick accession to the European Union, too, like other states in the Western Balkans by the way. However, domestic considerations and animosities kept Brussels from taking considerable action in that respect. And merely regarding Macron, the personified scapegoat for many enlargement proponents, as the reason falls short.

Sure, enlargement currently is not really en vogue in EU capitals, due to various more or less logical reasons. Either way, the EU might do well deciding about whether or not entry into the union is still realistic in foreseeable time for respective states, not only North Macedonia. And since patience is a gift that is not given to everyone, Brussels better decides soon.

At least before more and more family members run stir-crazy. Such a decision might even be made from the home office, don’t you think?

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