Written evidence submitted by the Embassy
of the Republic of Macedonia
The Republic of Macedonia considers that the
UK presence (political and military) in the Balkans is very important
and has a key role in the processes of preventing the conflicts,
stabilizing the Region and encouraging the commitments of these
countries for their NATO and EU integration.
The Republic of Macedonia is forging ahead with
reforms necessary to make Euro-Atlantic integration a reality.
The stability and prosperity of Macedonia on a crossroad in South
East Europe are of great significance not only for the Region
but for the whole Europe.
The Republic of Macedonia expresses satisfaction
with the traditionally good bilateral relations with the United
Kingdom and their positive development.
The EU-membership is an idea that unites and
inspires everybody in Macedoniathe Government, all political
parties and all citizens. The Republic of Macedonia was the first
state in the Region to conclude a Stabilisation and Association
Agreement with the EU in 2001. It entered into force on 1 April
2004, and, again, it was the first Agreement of this kind to enter
In September, the Government adopted a National
Strategy for European Integration of the Republic of Macedonia.
This Strategy sets out the fundamental aims, policies and priorities
in the process of acquiring membership of the European Union.
On 1 October 2004 the European Commission President
Mr. Romano Prodi handed over to the Government a Questionnaire
which is a part of the dialogue with the Union after the submission
of the Application for membership in March 2004 in Dublin. At
the moment, Macedonia is preparing replies to an impressive number
of questions on political, economic and technical issues, which
will allow the Commission to formulate its Opinion if the country
is ready to undertake the rights and obligations of the membership.
In this regard, for Macedonia, the support of the United Kingdom
will be very important in the efficient implementation of the
procedure and in the process of answering the Questionnaire, as
well as in the entire process until the final integration in the
EU. This support will have an immense significance especially
during the British EU-Presidency (second half of 2005) when the
European Commission will be finalising the Opinion.
The European Council in Feira expressed its
clear position that the future of the countries in the Region
is in the EU. The Thessalonica Agenda "Western Balkans: moving
towards European Integration" of 2003 confirmed the European
perspective on the Western Balkan countries and enriched the stabilisation
and association process with new instruments: the European Partnerships,
and access to Community programmes, TAIEX and Twining. With its
proactive approach and programmed identification of priorities,
the Republic of Macedonia will benefit from these instruments
in the EU integration process. This approach will be used to prepare
for the membership negotiations. British support in this context
will be very useful.
Macedonia expects that the real political commitment
of the EU for the integration of Macedonia and the other SAP-countries
will be implemented in the new financial framework of EU for the
period 2007-13 which will be on the agenda for negotiations during
the Dutch and the British EU-Presidency.
The Republic of Macedonia has clear and strong
commitment to be a part of the North Atlantic Alliance and together
with all member states of the Alliance to advance and guarantee
its own stability. There is overall political and civic consensus
in the country concerning this strategic goal.
For only two years, Macedonia has achieved what
for many seemed impossible: from consumer of the Euro-Atlantic
military security, Macedonia has begun to contribute to the advancement
of the regional and global security. Today, the Republic of Macedonia
today is a part of global anti-terrorist coalition. Macedonian
soldiers, together with the coalition forces, take an active part
in securing the peace in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Nine years ago, the Republic of Macedonia did
sign up for the Partnership for Peace program of NATO and took
an active part in the program's initiatives, and recently, through
the Adriatic partnership, did achieve excellent regional cooperation.
In this year's Summit of NATO in Istanbul within
the Final communique of the Summit, the members of the Alliance
noted: "We celebrate the success of NATO's Open Door policy,
and reaffirm today that our seven new members will not be the
last. The door to membership remains open. We welcome the progress
made by Albania, Croatia and Macedonia in implementing their Annual
National Programmes under the Membership Action Plan, and encourage
them to continue pursuing the reforms necessary to progress towards
NATO membership. We also commend their contribution to regional
stability and cooperation. We want all three countries to succeed
and will continue to assist them in their reform efforts. NATO
will continue to assess each country's candidacy individually,
based on the progress made towards reform goals pursued through
the Membership Action Plan, which will remain the vehicle to keep
the readiness of each aspirant for membership under review."
It is an extraordinary success for the Republic
of Macedonia and represented an additional motivation to continue
energetically on its way towards NATO expecting to receive an
invitation for membership in the next round of NATO enlargement.
The United Kingdom had a leading role in the
NATO-military missions in the Region (IFOR, SFOR and KFOR). The
missions were and they are very important for the prevention of
conflicts and stabilization of the Region.
The United Kingdom had a Brigade Headquarters
in the NATO's first mission in the Republic of Macedonia in 2001
with "Operation Essential Harvest" which the main aim
was to collect voluntarily surrendered weapons from insurgent
ethnic Albanian rebels. In January 2004, Brigadier Dennis Blease
assumed the appointment of Commander NATO Headquarters Skopje
and NATO Senior Military Representative in the Republic of Macedonia.
He directs the NATO Advisory Team. Its main purpose is to provide
support and assistance to the Army of the Republic of Macedonia
(ARM) General Staff with the military aspects of their NATO Membership
Action Plan (MAP) and Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme. From
the 1 September 2004, British Embassy in Skopje assumed the role
of NATO Contact Point Embassy in Macedonia for a period of two
years. Through the annual bilateral programme, the UK also provides
assistance in areas such as English language training and defence
Macedonia appreciates very much all support
(bilateral and in the framework of NATO) from the United Kingdom
concerning the preparations for the membership into NATO and hopes
that it will continue in the future.
The Framework Agreement is a prime political
priority for the Republic of Macedonia and it is being implemented
in accordance with the Framework Agreement Implementation plan
adopted in 2003. This Agreement was the source for the introduction
of significant changes in the constitutional order of the Republic
of Macedonia in 2001 which focused on a higher level of inclusiveness
of citizens who are members of the non-majority communities, particularly
of the Albanians, as a non-majority community of over 20% of the
population in the country.
The forthcoming decentralization process which
is a part of the implementation of the Framework Agreement requires
fundamental reforms in the management of local affairs. At a local
level, this means strengthening local capacities in the planning
and management of local resources, whereas on a central level
it means strengthening the role of the state in strategic planning
and national resources, whereas on a central level it means strengthening
the role of the state in strategic planning and national resource
management, as well as strengthening the monitoring function regarding
the application of laws.
Visa regime for the Macedonian citizens
A particularly important interest of the Republic
of Macedonia is to see the EU visa regime for its citizen liberalised
and than in the near future abolished. The measures that the Republic
of Macedonia needs to undertake in order to make progress on this
issue go beyond the special measures in the area of visa policy
and relate to the overall policies in the sphere of justice and
home affairs, the harmonisation of national legislation with that
of the EU and its practical application. The project on new Macedonian
passports aligned with the EU standards will be implemented in
parallel with these measures.
The Republic of Macedonia has an interest to
resolve the question about the overcoming the differences with
Greece about the constitutional namethe Republic of Macedonia.
The talks between the representatives of the two Governments are
going on in New York under auspices of the UN. Despite this issue,
Macedonia and Greece have excellent bilateral relations particularly
in the economic field. The position of the Government is using
the constitutional name by all countries and international community,
and the right of Greece to use a name which will be acceptable
for both countries. The Republic of Macedonia appreciates the
fact that the United Kingdom uses the constitutional name of the
countrythe Republic of Macedonia in bilateral relations.
Macedonia is committed to openness, cooperation
and the establishment of links with neighbouring countries, as
well as with the countries in the closer and wider region. Actually,
the Republic of Macedonia is the most prominent advocate of regional
cooperation in Southeast Europe. This means that Macedonia is
active in regional trade liberalization, the establishment of
a regional power supply market, the intensification of the common
fight against organized crime and corruption and the establishment
of the regional migration and asylum forum. The Government considers
regional cooperation to be a genuine need of the countries in
the Region and a complementary factor on its way towards Europe.
The principled position of the Government of
the Republic of Macedonia is that the rule of law, the respect
of human rights, the return of the refugees to their homes and
especially the rights of minorities and the strengthening of civil
society should be established in Kosovo. The basis of all discussions
on Kosovo remains to be the Resolution 1244 of the Security Council
of the UN. The Republic of Macedonia gives its full support to
the international community in the implementation of the set standards,
which will enable the rule of law and the normalization of the
situation. The Agreement on Demarcation and Delineation of the
State Border between the Republic of Macedonia and than the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) signed in February
2001 has entered in force in June 2001. The Government position
is that the demarcation of the northern border in the section
towards Kosovo was to be completed prior to the start of the talks
on the final status of Kosovo.
Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia
12 October 2004