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The challenge ahead

Kicevo's main boulevard by night - Copyright by Ljupco Zoreski (
Kicevo's main boulevard by night

In 2002 ESI wrote:

"For the nascent common European foreign and security policy, Macedonia has been a model for how a concerted intervention can contain a conflict, turning a crisis into a diplomatic success. To build on this, however, the European Union will have to develop a credible programme not just to implement the provisions of the Ohrid Agreement, but also to address the structural causes of ethnic conflict. Only a serious commitment of European assistance which addresses the problem of industrial decline and rural underdevelopment can alleviate the dangerous dynamics which currently shape Macedonian society. The battle for stability in Macedonia is far from being won. It is in places like Kicevo and Zajas that Ohrid implementation must begin to make a difference in people's lives."

The case of Kicevo illustrates that a lot has been achieved with regard to the implementation of the Ohrid Agreement. The "structural causes of ethnic conflict", like industrial decline and rural underdevelopment, however, have not been successfully addressed. Today it does not seem any more likely then in 2002 that Kicevo can overcome its economic development problem that is deeply rooted in its socialist legacy on its own.

A credible European perspective could make a crucial contribution.

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