Srebrenica anniversary and North Macedonia’s EU accession path exacerbates old tensions

On July 2, several social media users began making false claims about the official handling of the protest against the French proposal. In a tweet that went viral, an anonymous user wrote unverified claims that police stopped vehicles and people heading towards the Skopje protest.

Another viral tweet wrote that if North Macedonia does not start EU accession negotiations and its neighbor Albania does, ethnic Albanian politicians in North Macedonia will demand that the country be partitioned, with the western, mainly Albanian part breaking off to join Albania.

Another Twitter user claimed that members of the former ethnic Albanian paramilitary Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, marched in the western town of Tetovo shouting slogans calling for the dissolution of North Macedonia. In fact, the “KLA members” in Tetovo were veterans who attended the funeral of a former KLA member.

In another episode, North Macedonia’s Foreign Ministry warned on July 11 that online media was publishing misinformation about the protocol between North Macedonia and Bulgaria, which is part of the French proposal to settle their bilateral dispute.

It warned that the media has published old and incomplete versions of the document, which is still being reviewed by the country’s institutions.

“At this sensitive moment, we believe that the publication of this false information represents a tendentious attempt to disrupt the process of broad consultations on the French proposal to lift the veto and continue the country’s European integration, which is currently in its final stages at the assembly [parliament],” it said.

Online threats and other scams are disrupting the region

In Serbia, online threats against journalists and activists continued, while in Romania and Hungary online fraud and cyber fraud plagued their digital environments.

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