Address by the President Ivanov, at the reception hosted for the members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Republic of Macedonia
Thursday, 18 January 2018 20:11   

Gevgelija1Distinguished representatives of the diplomatic corps

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,

At the beginning of this New Year 2018, it is an honor to welcome you here in Gevgelija and to wish you, your countries and organizations every success.

Ten days ago, we marked one century since the famous 14 points of US President Woodrow Wilson.  The 14th point is dedicated to the need of creating a universal association that would provide mutual guarantees for political independence and territorial integrity for both big and small countries.

The League of Nations paved the way for the United Nations.  On our European continent, this vision was realized through the European Union as a peace project.  With its enlargement policy, the Union was successful in motivating our states to voluntarily reform, transform and Europeanize.

The source of this noble vision can be found in Kant's concept of perpetual peace.  And yet it was Kant who recognized that "out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made". This also goes for his perpetual peace.

If we look at the world with sober eyes, we will see that the ideas contained in the United Nations Charter are still only just ideals; the respect of international law is an exception rather than a rule, and the principles of the European Union and NATO have been undermined by double standards.

All of this contributed to last year 2017 being filled with a multitude of political and economic challenges and security risks and threats.

ISIS is losing its territory in the Middle East.  A military defeat will unfortunately not mean a final defeat of the radical ideology which is a threat to free and democratic European societies.  Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen security cooperation and coordination.  We had a positive example of this kind of cooperation not very far from here.  Only a few kilometers south from Gevgelija, the Macedonian army and police, together with police officers from partner European countries have been safeguarding Europe from the threat of illegal migration.

In such conditions, our European continent is moving in between unification and fragmentation.  Multilateral cooperation is giving its spot to bilateral agreements as an instrument for promotion of interests.

In the Balkans, populism and interference in internal affairs of states are undermining the efforts for building good neighborly relations.

In the Republic of Macedonia, we feel the consequences of these developments.

The solution of the name issue became a hostage of NATO and EU bureaucracies, who ignore the judgment of the International Court of Justice.

The status quo situation in terms of integration resulted in stagnation in the area of reforms and an erosion of the culture of political dialogue in Macedonia.  Left on our own, we lost many years dealing with political crises.

In order to make up for the lost time, we are now preparing the necessary reforms with an accelerated dynamics.  However, due to the lack of time and will, some rather faulty solutions are being offered for the judiciary and national security system.  In a rush, solutions are made that are counter-productive and bring about divisions instead of coexistence.  Yesterday, I made the decision not to sign the Decree proclaiming the repressive and unconstitutional Law on the use of Languages, passed without a public debate, scientific debate or inclusion of the academic and expert milieu, as well as without the opposition. I expect from the Government to focus on the quality of European reforms instead of on their quantity.  Revenge is not the way to reconciliation.

As President of the Republic of Macedonia, I will continue to cooperate with the Government, as it has been the case in the past, and I will support the essential European reforms that will result from an open and genuine public debate and that will be subject of a broad consensus.

We have accelerated dynamics in relation to the name issue with neighboring Greece.  However, we need to be careful not to go out of the path traced with the UN Charter, UN Security Council resolutions, the Interim Accord and the International Court of Justice judgment. It is only if we follow these guidelines that we will be able to reach a lasting and sustainable solution.

Apart from challenges, 2018 will also be a year of possibilities.

What is encouraging is the fact that the Balkans are again in the focus of the European Union.

Through its new Enlargement strategy, the European Commission will be able to offer renewed hope to the Region.  The Bulgarian and Austrian presidency of the Union might accelerate the integration of the region.  Macedonia will host the Brdo Brijuni Process Leaders' Meeting where, besides infrastructural and security connectivity, the countries from the region will also harmonize their positions regarding the enlargement strategy.

2018 will also be a possibility for NATO to rectify the injustice from Bucharest and give the well deserved membership to the Republic of Macedonia.  This is a membership that we have earned not only through painstaking reforms, but also with a substantial contribution to regional and global security through our participation in numerous peace-keeping missions.  As a responsible member of the international community, we are ready to become the 30th member of the Alliance and to realize the goal we have set.

This constellation of events leaves a space for careful optimism in terms of European and Euro-Atlantic integration of the Republic of Macedonia.

Dear friends,

The membership of Macedonia in NATO and the opening of accession negotiations with the Union will have a positive influence on both regional stability and internal unity.

This is an opportunity to overcome divisions and invest our entire energy into the implementation of European reforms in function of building functioning institutions, provide independent judiciary and rule of law, for the benefit of our citizens.  This is a task for both government and opposition, for both institutions and citizens.  This is a task that cannot be bypassed.

We are aware that Kant's perpetual peace might only be an ideal.  Still, by moving towards it, we believe that we can build stronger functioning institutions and prosperous economies and thus create a better future for our citizens, our countries and with that, for the world that we live in.

With this message, at the end, I wish for well being and progress of your countries and peoples, and to you personally and your loved ones, good health, joy and success.

Thank you.