The fact-checked post, with its fuzzy text and the accompanying photos, purposefully manipulates the statement of the Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, with the aim of creating a picture of some kind of military threat to North Macedonia from Bulgaria. Rama did not foresee such a thing happening but used an ironic joke to compare EU integration of the Western Balkans and Ukraine, which is at war with Russia, thereby cautioning the EU, writes Truthmeter.mk.
Under the content-sharing agreement between Truthmeter.mk and Meta.mk, we republish the text below:
We are fact-checking a post on the social network Facebook (screenshot here) manipulating the statement given at the Bled Strategic Forum by the Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, presenting it as a threat and prediction for the future.
Rama is neither naive nor stupid; All this time (together with Vuchic) he was aware of the goal of the Open Balkans “theater” – a theater which only the retarded Zaev and Kyurka believed in, attending conferences like jesters. And of course, selling stories to the even more retarded NMacedonia-freaks, who believed that this consolation was provisional until making their way to the EU. Now, Rama is subtly announcing the follow-up on the Balkans, states the post we are fact-checking.
Although not stated directly in the text that the follow-up would be a war between Balkan neighboring countries – for example, Bulgaria attacking Macedonia – with the photos attached, especially with the headline in Infomax, the post creates a perception that Rama’s message was real and it evidently can be seen in the comments below the post. All this is manipulative, however, and leads to misinterpretations and hate speech which is present in the comments. The facts, however, are different.
Rama’s statement was not a threat at all, nor was it predicting future happenings. His statement was simply an ironic joke. He spoke about EU integration of the Western Balkans, mentioning the conflict in Ukraine and its accelerated path to the Union. Rama pointed out that Ukraine is a potential candidate country for EU membership, and that the EU should not neglect the Western Balkans. Rama ironically said that if a being at war is taken as a benchmark for EU membership, then all of the countries from the Western Balkans would attack each other, just to become part of the Union. Hence, Rama was joking about fights between the Balkan countries and about who gets on the “EU train” first … with Ukraine (Rama’s full speech available here from 2:10 to 3:54).
Looking at the conflict in Ukraine and its accelerated path to the EU, I wonder: “Who should attack whom on this panel to get the membership faster than Ukraine”? And I answer to myself: “Bulgaria can easily attack North Macedonia, without a doubt, Croatia can easily attack Serbia, Serbia – Kosovo, Bosnia can easily attack itself – no problem – we… I’m sure we, Albania, can ask the Greeks to attack us, they will do it with pleasure, Montenegro can play dead in the beach… And so, we can all be ready to join the train with Ukraine,” said Rama, causing laughter in the audience.
So, Rama did not forecast that Bulgaria would attack North Macedonia.
Bulgaria and North Macedonia are members of the NATO Alliance, whose main goal is security and defense of its member-states. Article 5 of the North-Atlantic Treaty states that “an armed attack on one or more member states is considered an attack on all of them”.
The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against all of them and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence l assist the attacked Party or Parties by immediately, individually and in cooperation with other parties in the exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security in the North Atlantic area.
Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security, specifies Article 5 of the Treaty.
Therefore, one can note that the post deliberately manipulates Rama’s statement in order to present somewhat of a military threat from Bulgaria to North Macedonia, although such a thing is hardly possible because both countries are NATO member states. Rama never predicted such a thing happening, but ironically joked by comparing EU integration of the Western Balkans with that of Ukraine, which is at war with Russia, and thereby cautioned the EU.
Because of all this, we assess the post as untrue.