Macedonia was the only Yugoslavian republic to make a peaceful transition to statehood at the time of the federation’s collapse. Yet tensions between ethnic Macedonians and Albanians over the constitutional design of the state meant it remained vulnerable to violence, to which it succumbed in 2001. Civil war was averted with the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, which promised to distribute power more evenly between the two. This settlement is portrayed in opposing extremes: by Macedonians, as a prelude to the demise of the country; by Albanians and the international community, as a guarantor of its existence. This paper eschews such interpretations. While it remains the best solution for preserving Macedonia’s inter-ethnic equilibrium and facilitating its integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions, the Framework Agreement is not without flaw. Above all, it has marginalised smaller ethnic communities, embedding a de facto bi-national state in which Macedonians and Albanians predominate politically over all others.
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