News

Albanian declared official language across Macedonia / Issue of US recognition of Rojava

4 to 11 January

Macedonian PM Zoran Zaev.
Macedonian PM Zoran Zaev. Autor/a: Government of the Republic of Macedonia
WEEKLY ROUNDUP. Albanian is set to become official throughout Macedonia —pending the signature of the country’s president— after the Balkan country Parliament has approved a new law that extends linguistic rights of Albanian speakers. The decision, however, is not free of controversy. On a separate issue, news reports point to a future diplomatic recognition of Western Kurdistan, or Rojava, by the United States.


NEWS HIGHLIGHT

Albanian declared official language in the whole of Macedonia. The Macedonian Parliament has approved a law 11 January, 69 votes for of a total 120, that recognizes Albanian as the second official language throughout the country, along with Macedonian. So far, Albanian was official only in those municipalities where Albanians exceeded 20% of the population. It only remains for the president to sign the law so that it enters into force.

The new law opens the door to Albanian speakers being able to use their language with public administration throughout Macedonia, and it extends the use of the language to all official documentation and state institutions.

The law is part of a government agreement between PM Zoran Zaev’s Macedonian Social Democratic Party and the Albanian majority parties. Conservative Macedonian nationalist party VMRO, in opposition, has boycotted the Parliament vote, arguing that official status for Albanian is unconstitutional and that it will help increase tensions between Albanians and Macedonians.

According to the 2002 Macedonian census —the most recent— 64% of the country’s inhabitants identify themselves as Macedonians, 25% as Albanians, 4% as Turks and 3% as Roma.

Macedonia thus becomes the third state where Albanian is an official language throughout the country, after Albania and Kosovo.

Other European states foresee co-official status at state level for more than one language in their constitutions. This is the case of Luxembourg, Finland, Ireland, Belarus, Malta, Cyprus and Kosovo.

MOREOVER 

Towards a de facto recognition of Rojava by the United States? London-based, Saudi-owned daily Asharq Al-Awsatquotes an unnamed “senior Western official” as saying that Donald Trump’ administration has decided to support rebuilding efforts of the autonomous region of northern Syria, which is controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces ( SDF). The support is meant to be in the areas of the military, economy and logistics, “later leading to diplomatic recognition,” the daily writes. Turkish Daily Sabah newspaper quotes US government sources as saying that, in any case, the United States continue to support Syria’s territorial integrity. Even so, the newspaper admits that, according to analysts, recognition of Rojava is “almost inevitable” as the SDF has become a key part of US policy in the region.

MORE FEATURE STORIES AND ANALYSIS