By H.E. Mr. Pande Lazarevski, Ambassador of the Republic of Macedonia to Bucharest
The first day of independence started in a turbulent time of painful transformation and transition of our region. In such difficult circumstances, the Republic of Macedonia was determined to be a good neighbor, to be a factor of peace and stability, to help in the building of an advanced and prosperous region.
In the years that have passed, there were periods of celebrations and successes, but also difficult moments when we faced challenges. Despite all challenges, we can proudly state that we have achieved a lot. Today the region is dramatically changed in a positive way.
Today, 23 years after the sovereign decision of its citizens for an independent state, the Republic of Macedonia is a politically stable country with a dynamic economy, a step before full membership in NATO and the European Union.
Since independence, we have remained faithful to our core values, among which are peace, liberty, democracy, human rights and the centuries-old Macedonian tradition of coexistence and respect for diversity. We continue to promote the Republic of Macedonia as a sovereign state in which the rule of law is established and guaranteed, in which social justice and solidarity are provided.
Guided by the core values and principles and strongly dedicated to reforms, the Macedonian Government managed to make Macedonia recognizable in the world as one of the top business destinations. Its stable macro-economic policy, low inflation, balanced public finances and a low budget deficit, stable currency and low public debt, as well as its young, educated hard-working and loyal workforce and flat taxes have made Macedonia an attractive business destination for investors.
According to Doing Business, Macedonia is ranked 25th among 189 countries in the world, and has best business-climate in South Eastern Europe. For few consecutive years, Macedonia is selected as the best reformer in South Eastern Europe, and 3rd best reformer in the world. We can already taste the first fruits of the positive business climate for direct foreign investments, of up to 1.871 billion Euros for the period 2007-2013. Macedonian foreign policy leading principle has been consistently the principle of openness to all.
In this regard we remain open to those who are closest to us – our neighbors. We have invested a lot of energy in creating an environment for a more successful bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation with the countries in the immediate and extended neighborhood. Although we faced challenges and misunderstandings, we are committed to building good neighborly relationships around us, and honest friendship with all nations and peoples around the world. With a positive approach, the challenges will turn into new opportunities and today’s misunderstandings prelude to stronger friendship tomorrow.
As a good neighbor, the Republic of Macedonia will continue in its efforts to build bridges of friendship and cooperation. As a good neighbor, we continue to build infrastructure and energy, trade and economic, political and cultural corridors connecting us with all our immediate and extended neighbors. These corridors we are now building, these cooperation doors we open, will one day be used by our children and the children of our neighbors. They will live the future of the region we are now creating. We want to leave them a united European region, with erased boundaries of divisions of the past.
It is a truth that we, the present generation, we have not only inherited the world from our ancestors, but more importantly, we have borrowed from generations to come.
The Republic of Macedonia is especially proud of its traditionally good relations with Romania, derived from the strong traditional, historical and cultural bonds between the friendly peoples of the two countries and proven by the high level official visits in the past years. However, there is a room for much, much greater enhancement in the bilateral cooperation, particularly in the field of economy, in addition to the fields of cultural and academic cooperation that are permanently growing. Expectations are that extensive exchange of business information and meetings of businessmen from both countries, as well as establishing direct flights between the capitals, will expand business possibilities and improve economic cooperation. Twining town initiatives might boost economic cooperation on local level, being supportive for increasing of business contacts and tourist exchange. Also, for better prospects in economic cooperation, it is important to have much stronger mutual media visibility by presenting information related to the tradition, history and culture, economic possibilities and business environment in both countries.
As a European country, we remain focused on achieving our European future. We have implemented continuous reforms which resulted in the visa liberalization; we have received positive reports of the European Commission and recommendations to start negotiations for membership of the Republic of Macedonia into the European Union.
Last but not list, Republic of Macedonia appreciates Romania as a country in which, together with Romanians, lives many Macedonians who have not forgotten their Macedonian roots but at the same time, they are proud and loyal citizens of Romania, country that is a sincere friend of the Republic of Macedonia.