Author: Vincent Wood
Published on: EXPRESS | November 6th, 2017
EUROPEAN Union officials are allowing China and Russia to gain strategic influence in Europe by failing smaller nations on the continent, the President of Macedonia has revealed.
Russia has long invested in smaller states to gain a foothold in nations around the world, while China has begun to pour money into countries including Ethiopia and Kenya under the rule of President Xi Jinping.
Now Baltic states have warned they will turn away from the bloc and towards the east if they are not given appropriate investment by Eurocrats as a new balance of world power is forged.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov said: “Until recently, we haven’t seen any Russian investment in Macedonia.
“But as Europe is withdrawing – or rather not keeping its promises about making the Balkans part of the European Union – it’s like a call from the EU to come and fill in that space.”
President Ivanov warned the closed-off view of the bloc, and its lack of investment in connecting the east and the west, was allowing the two dormant superpowers of Russia and China to stake their claim on Europe.
He said: “Now we arrive at the situation where we are using Chinese money and credits to build a European corridor transiting the territory of Macedonia.
“This is the paradox. This is what I mean when I talk about Europe is withdrawing. It’s like a call to China.”
The President’s nation has been a candidate for membership since 2005, but has not yet been given a seat at the EU’s table after being repeatedly blocked by Greece over territorial disputes.
Mr Ivanov claimed their refusal to allow Macedonian accession amid political conflict in the country was leaving his nation in limbo.
Now he has warned the EU will need to act quickly to keep a firm grip on its European influence.
He added: “Bismarck once said that we whoever controls the valley of the River Vardar controls the connections between Europe and the Middle East.
“And whoever controls the connections between Europe and the Middle East, also control the connections between Europe and Asia.
“The EU seems to have forgotten this.”
Six countries in the Western Balkan region, which is still recovering from a decade of wars and economic turmoil in the 1990s, aim to join the European Union – Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania.
In September Serbian officials warned the bloc to let the country in before the EU “falls apart”.
Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić said: «It is important that the enlargement of the EU continues.
“Either we join the EU, or the EU joins us.
«We remain committed to our goal – and that is full-fledged membership in the EU.»
Hopefully, we will join the EU before it falls apart.”
Mr Dačić added: «I can hardly believe that all countries of the EU only joined once they have met all the criteria.
“I am willing to bet that if they would once again join the Union, at least a third would not meet the criteria.”
He joked that Serbia had a «threat» for the US in store should the EU not accept them.
The minister added: ”We would then demand accession to the USA.
“We are definitely closer than Hawaii anyway.»