9 September 2008
Address of the President of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Trajko Veljanoski on the occasion of the 8th of September, the Independence Day of the Republic of Macedonia
Distinguished President of the Republic of Macedonia, Distinguished President of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, Distinguished Fellow Parliamentarians, Distinguished Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends, Along with the two Ilindens, the 8th of September is one of the three dates in the history of the Macedonian people and the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia that are closely linked with the century-old aspirations, struggles and dreams for an independent state.
If the first Ilinden in 1903 suggested those statehood aspirations and commitments, if on the second Ilinden in 1944 the foundations were laid of that statehood, on the 8th of September 1991 these aspirations and dreams were fulfilled by the announcement of the results of the Referendum when over 95% of the citizens opted for an independent and sovereign Republic of Macedonia. Today when we are marking the 17th anniversary, we may take pleasure, pride even, and say that the Republic of Macedonia is a sovereign and independent international entity, member of all international organisations.
Thorough reforms have been done in all spheres. Private ownership and market economy have been re-introduced, legal order has been established based on human rights and freedoms and principle of political pluralism as a foundation of democracy, and a significant civil society has been created based on the citizens and their needs. And it was exactly in this Parliamentary home that the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia was adopted as a supreme legal act that determines statehood and upon which the overall legislation is based, for which I should on this occasion like to express particular gratitude to the Members of the first Assembly's mandate.
It is human to dream and have aspirations and commitments. If in the last century it was statehood and independence, in the 21st century our aspirations, commitments and dreams are turned to the political, historical and cultural values to which, in essence, we have always belonged - and that is Europe, membership in the European Union and NATO.
On that path we have recently been most brutally stopped although we have fulfilled all the criteria for NATO membership. The sole reason was our name - Macedonia, our identity as Macedonians. Nothing new in our history, though I should like to remind that we have always known how to protect our identity and appear stronger out of these struggles.
Therefore I believe that this time again we will all together protect our name and our national and cultural identity, and we will fulfill our commitments for full membership in the European Union and NATO. No need to remind of the huge support of the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia for these goals. No need to remind that we have a political consensus on these issues. No need to remind that it is exactly here in the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia that a number of declarations and resolutions have been passed in support of our membership in the European Union and NATO.
However, allow me to remind of the responsibility of each of us as a citizen, and in particular of the responsibility of all of us that have been given mandate and political legitimacy by the citizens to lead the country and carry out these aspirations and commitments.
Allow me in the end to congratulate the 8th of September to all of you and to all the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia, hoping that we will continue dreaming, but that we will also strongly and efficiently work for the European Macedonia.
May long live the 8th of September.