Distingushed Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 


At the very outset, I would like to thank you all for being present here today and wish you a very warm welcome to the Ministry of Foreign of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia. It is both an honour, as well as a privilege to be able to address you all here today in the lead-up to the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and celebrations. This is the time when we usually take stock of our endeavors throughout the year and project our activities for the next one.

2015 was a year of great challenges, which called into question both global and the national security of many countries across the world. It also challenged human security. Being of a different profile and character, these challenges have, as never before, highlighted the necessity of togetherness and coordinated action in addressing them.

The ongoing migrant and refugee crisis represents a phenomenon unprecedented in recent world history. Given its complexity and numerous implications, it transcends national borders and necessitates a global coordinated engagement in addressing its humanitarian, security and broader geopolitical aspects. In order to achieve a durable and sustainable solution to this crisis, it is necessary to address its root causes. Achieving peace in Syria and wider in the Middle East is essential to this end.

The humanitarian and security aspects are equally important to the Republic of Macedonia in addressing the challenges of the refugee crisis. We continue taking all necessary measures to ensure a humane treatment and safe transit for all individuals in need of international protection. We share the same goal with our European partners and attach utmost importance to our partnership with the EU and our cooperation with all countries affected along the Balkan Route. We remain hopeful that the cooperation with Greece will be further strengthened and count on the positive role on Frontex in this respect.

The threats of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalism appear as global ill.
The recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Tunisia, Ankara, Baghdad, Beirut, Egypt and Bamako are an attack against the whole of humanity, as well as against the peace, liberty and the principles and values that we all live and uphold. Maintaining cooperation and pursuing a joint comprehensive approach in combating terrorism is the most appropriate way of overcoming these challenges. The Republic of Macedonia is an active partner to the international anti-terrorist coalition and will continue contributing to both international efforts aimed at eliminating terrorism, violent extremism and radicalism, and the ones aimed at tackling all other global threats and challenges.

Climate change is yet another global challenge, which also requires joint engagement for effective action. In that sense, I would like to welcome the “Paris Agreement,” described as the first genuinely global climate agreement in the history of mankind aiming at saving the entire planet - as all countries pledged to reducing the emission of greenhouse gases and limiting global warming.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The activities and projects of the Macedonian diplomacy undertaken in 2015 were in concordance with the strategic foreign policy goals and priorities of the Republic of Macedonia, namely the European and Euro-Atlantic integration, relations with our partners from Europe and beyond, neighbourly relations and regional cooperation, economic and multilateral diplomacy, as well as advancing and protecting the country’s and the interests of Macedonian nationals abroad.

EU membership remains a principal priority to which we strive and work for. This year, the European Commission recomended to the Council, for the seventh consecutive time, the opening of accession with the Republic of Macedonia. We are aware that there is always room for improvement, thus we have been strengthening our efforts to implement the remaining reform priorities. We believe that opening of accession negotiations in Spring 2016 is of mutual interest and will provide an additional boost to the enlargment policy.

The same goes for the process of Euro-Atlantic integration. The Judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) remains a strong legal argument, which reflects the actual state of play and justifies the entry of Macedonia to NATO.

At the same time, the Republic of Macedonia continues with the proactive and constructive approach to the talks on the name issue held under the UN auspices. In that respect, we sincerely hope that by implementing the agreed confidence-building measures with our Greek partners, the on-going dialogue and cooperation will assist to overcoming this longstanding irrational problem for both sides.

Dear friends,

Now, I would like to bring your attention and underscore this year’s successful Macedonian Presidencyof the Central European Initiative (CEI). Throughout the year we focused, inter alia, on the progress of the transport and energy infrastructure, as well as the business relations in the CEI Region.

As part of our commitments to actively contribute to the processes within the multilateral arena, we decided to nominate our own candidate for the post of the next Secretary-General of the United Nations. In addition to that, over the course of this passing year, we have been an active member of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva as one of the most important bodies within the UN system. We have also continued our active engagement as a member of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

Economic diplomacy has been and still remains one of the main priorities of our Ministry. We continue to undertake activities promoting Macedonia as an investment destination and a country with great tourism potential.

Excellencies and members of the diplomatic corps,

On this occasion, I would also like to once again emphasize how greatly I encourage, as well as value and appreciate your work and support as representatives of your sending countries and organizations. This October, together with some of you here, we marked the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. We are going to continue the tradition of celebrating such important jubilees in 2016, as well as the constructive cooperation with each and every one of you, and the esteemed countries and organizations you are representing.

I would like to hereby conclude my today’s address with the following thought by the Blessed Mother Teresa, which concerns all of us here today: “Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough - Give your best anyway.” Continuing in that vein, I would like to call upon all of you to indeed give your best during your tenure to further advance our relations, cooperation and partnership.

On that note, I wish you and your families good health, as well as the best of luck, success and prosperity in the upcoming new year.

Thank you very much.