Opening the EU accession negotiations and receiving the NATO invitation would give decisive contribution to successfully implement the historic agreement with Greece and better future of the Macedonian citizens, PM Zoran said Wednesday addressing the debate on topic “Future for Southeastern Europe – the Case of Macedonia” held in Vienna-based Austrian Institute for International Affairs.
“Macedonia has made a huge leap forward only in a year, from the edge of failure to our biggest aspiration – the EU and NATO. When we signed a contract with Greece for addressing the dispute and strategic partnership we moved mountains and there should be no doubt, this was achieved our honest wish for better present and future of the citizens of Macedonia, the region, Europe and the world,” Zaev said.
He said “miracle can happen when we strongly believe in the values we follow and in this case are European values that through us are exposed through our political credibility and be transparent and this is our way, we open towards entire political and social public and we lead forward.”
“We lead forward as new democratic government after 10 years regime in reform action for renewal and development values, rule of law, security of citizens and their economic stability, in the renewal of our friends in international community who welcomed us sincerely and reviving the relations with all friends of Macedonia from international community,” he underlined.
“We showed leadership in attempt to close all open issues with our neighbors. Thanks to same sincere efforts of the government of Bulgaria and Greece and maturity of the countries of all SEE countries, we managed to send clear message that Western Balkans or Southeast Europe is Europe,” Zaev said.
“The agreement with Greece is ratified, we will organize a referendum in autumn and I am convinced that the people will support the right decisions,” he emphasized.
He reminds that Macedonia signed EU Stabilization and Association Agreement in 2001, received candidate status in 2005 and first recommendation in 2009. We used time in the waiting room to prepare for the accession negotiations.
“Today we are ready both politically and institutionally. We are encouraged by EU enlargement strategy. We implemented conditions set by the EU in 2014/2015 and we have clear recommendation,” Zaev said.
“Macedonia is loyal and reliable partner for per capita in ISAF mission in Afghanistan deployed over 4.000 solders since 2002, we are dedicated to army reforms with annual budget increased 0.2% of our GDP, we are devoted to reform process that bring good to our citizens and to Macedonia and are based on the democratic values which are European and global heritage: inclusive governance, “one society for all,” good governing system,” he added.
He said that over 75% of the citizens support the EU and NATO integration, we share same values.
Zaev said that the Republic of Macedonia was in a deep political crisis in 2015-2016 authoritarian regime, captured state, tensions with neighbors and internal polarization, but country made a quantum leap from captured state to improving democracy.
“Now we are functional multi-ethnical and multi-religious society based on strong rule of law, a country where citizens have equal rights but also equal responsibility before the law. We showed that the difference can be an advantage and not impediment. We bring this to Europe and enriching with tradition and culture. Macedonia is a small country but big hope for the Balkans. We are positive example and encourage others to double up efforts for reforms and overcome disputes,” Zaev said.
“In the citizens of Macedonia, European citizens get allies in efforts towards a developed, stable and world of prosperity in which human rights are respected which are our human political and human duty,” Zaev said.