Wednesday, 8 September 2010
ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT VELJANOSKI ON THE CEREMONIAL ACADEMY on the occation 8th of September- Independence Day of the Republic of Macedonia
Distinguished President of the Republic of Macedonia,
Distinguished Colleagues - Members of Parliament,
Distinguished Members of the Government,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am convinced that the Macedonian nation and all the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia, in the endeavor, struggle and dream for independent state, will remember forever three important dates - the two Ilinden days (Ilinden in 1903 and Ilinden in 1944) and the 8th of September, when at the Referendum more that 95% of the voters said yes to the creation of independent and sovereign Republic of Macedonia.
Today when we are celebrating the 19th anniversary of this historic event, I would like to once again express my gratitude and admiration to the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia who in the turbulent period of the brake-up of former Yugoslavia cast their votes in the Referendum and with overwhelming majority confirmed the idea, the endeavors and determination of all the previous generations united by the spirit of the two Ilinden days to establish independent Macedonia, as the country of the Macedonian nation and all its citizens.
I would also like to express gratitude to the Members of Parliament from the first composition of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, to the members of the first Government, as well as to the first President of the Republic of Macedonia who, in accordance with their constitutional powers, established the foundations of the Republic of Macedonia as an independent, sovereign and internationally recognized state.
I would like to remind you that, based on the results of the Referendum and the successful functioning of the state and the state institutions, the Badinter Commission gave the recommendation for international recognition of the Republic of Macedonia.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
With the independence of the Republic of Macedonia the country began a comprehensive reform of the social and economic system. Private property was restored, as the basis for the economic and social development. Market economy was fully established, as genuine regulator of the economic flows. Constitutional and legal system was introduced that was based on human rights and freedoms, and on the principles of political pluralism as the basis of parliamentary democracy. Strong civil society has been created which is based on the interests of the citizens, and which today is an important factor in the overall social life, and I would say a true partner, but at the same time harsh critic of every government.
These processes, at least when it comes to the respect of human rights and parliamentary democracy, are a dynamic category that we are continually developing and upgrading, which was noted in the reports of the international institutions.
Distinguished fellow citizens,
In these 19 years the Republic of Macedonia and we the citizens experienced various difficulties. Unfortunately, at the very beginning of the existence of our country we as a nation and as citizens had to face the historic problem of not being recognized as a Macedonian nation, and be denied the realization of the centuries-old aspirations for having an independent state. At the very beginning of our independence we were faced with the absurd dispute with our southern neighbor regarding our constitutional name, our national character and identity. Contrary to all the international standards, they forced upon us the reference FYROM as a condition for membership in the UN and the other international institutions. The reference that many of our friends from the international institutions say is shameful, primarily for the international community. This absurdity was carried to an extreme with the blockade of the membership of the Republic of Macedonia in NATO at the Summit in Bucharest, although we fulfilled all the conditions. Is it not degradation of the idea of united Europe and its institutions having in mind the fact that we have the recommendation for receiving the date for opening the accession negotiations, while our southern neighbor is vetoing this using its position as a member-country.
This was not the first time in our history that our national and cultural identity has been denied. But the Macedonian nation has always managed to preserve its national identity, its language, its sovereignty. The ideas and the work of the creators of the first Ilinden - Goce Delcev, Dame Gruev, Gjorce Petrov, the battle of the heroes of Meckin Kamen, the participants in the February Campaign and of all the partisans that won World War II, the ideas and attitudes of Cento, of Kuzman Josifovski Pitu, of Brasnarov and of many others are an obligation for us to continue to nurture these ideas and commitments.
I believe that this historical experience and memory is generating optimism and conviction in every one of us that this battle we are leading through negotiations will result with a solution that will not question our national identity, and that it will lead to our full integration in the European family to which the Macedonian nation and all the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia belong culturally and civilizationally.
Today the Republic of Macedonia is a recognized player on the international political scene. As a sovereign and independent state and member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe and many other international institutions, we are very active in the fulfillment of our obligations, and we are giving our contribution in the addressing of the various challenges and threats to world peace. Besides our contribution to the fight against organized crime and trafficking of drugs and people, our army participates in the peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan, before that in Iraq, etc. We are dedicating special attention to the relations in the region, creating the conditions for realization of its European future.
The Republic of Macedonia is a unitary state of the Macedonian nation, and at the same time home to all its citizens. As a multiethnic, multicultural and multi-confessional society, we are creating conditions for all the citizens - Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, Vlachs, Serbs, Bosniaks, Jews, or from some other nationality, to feel that the Republic of Macedonia is their homeland where they can enjoy all the fundamental human rights and freedoms, at the same time preserving, further developing and expressing their ethnic, cultural or linguistic identity. The obligation to secure this comes from the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, more accurately from the amendments deriving from the Ohrid Framework Agreement, but also from the European standards and other documents, primarily those adopted by the Council of Europe - the oldest European organization whose Council of Ministers at this period is chaired by the Republic of Macedonia. At the same time the European standards, the Constitution and the laws are an obligation for us as individuals and members of a certain ethnic community to be loyal citizens. This loyalty does not mean servility, but above all respect of the laws.
Dear fellow citizens,
Parliamentary democracy is not an ideal political and social model, but al least for now there is nothing better. 20 years ago we introduced parliamentary democracy in the Republic of Macedonia - we became a democratic and parliamentary state, while in many other European countries parliamentarianims has existed for centuries. However, when a person reaches the age of 18, he/she is considered an adult and is fully responsible for his/her actions. I wonder whether we as society have overcome the growing pains of parliamentarianism and have entered adulthood. There is no doubt that in the past period some major steps have been made with regard to the adoption of the principles of parliamentary democracy. I would like to remind you of the last year’s positive report of the European Commission, where special emphasis was put on the role of the Assembly - and parliament is the place where parliamentary democracy is being practiced, which certainly is not the street.
On this occasion I would also like to point out the important assistance from the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the European institutions and some other friends from the international community, who in all these years helped us in the development of parliamentary democracy. However, it seems that some of us have not yet gone through the growing pains of parliamentarianism. If they have, how can the obstructions of the work of the Assembly be explained? How can the boycott of the coordination meetings be explained? And these are the mechanism of dialogue and reaching agreement for the functioning of parliamentary democracy. The absurdity is even bigger when this is being explained as a method for strengthening of the democratic processes.
Parliamentary democracy does not mean unlimited freedom and absurd rights, we must be responsible for our actions in the wider social and political context. The governing majority has to be responsible and to create the conditions for the political opposition to always be able to freely and transparently articulate its political views, its arguments, because it represents the citizens. Of course, it must also be opened to the arguments of the opposition. However, the governing majority, regardless of the political party, has the obligation to realize its programme, because it is the reason it won the confidence of the citizens, and the opposition must respect this. These are the fundamental principles of parliamentary democracy based on which the countries in Europe are functioning, and based on which parliamentary dialogue, as a political contest or battle among the political parties, is being waged.
The citizens are the only factor tat decides on parliamentary elections whose arguments and programmes are good for them and secure better present and clear future.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
With the Referendum from the 8th of September 1991, when more that 95% of the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia said yes to the creation of independent Macedonia, we fulfilled the ambitions and commitment for having our own country, based on the ideas of the two Ilindens. This was the first step towards our Euro-Atlantic integration as a strategic goal. Euro-Atlantic integration, i.e. membership in the EU and NATO, especially for the countries that in the past had one-party system, means undertaking many deep reforms in all fields and harmonization with the European legislation. I will not talk about whose achievements are greater, I want to emphasize the fact that the Republic of Macedonia should have been awarded the status of full member at the NATO Summit in Bucharest, and I would also like to remind you that last year the European Commission gave its recommendation for opening the accession negotiations with the European Union.
Today we are not a member of NATO, we still don’t have the date for opening the negotiations because of the absurd dispute imposed by our southern neighbour regarding our constitutional name. According to the United Nation’s Resolution this dispute should not have been an obstacle for our Euro-Atlantic integration. As a country we agreed to the negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations for finding a solution to this absurd dispute. Also, in the country we have a political consensus that a compromise solution must not infringe the cultural and linguistic identity of the Macedonian nation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Lately, the dispute over the name and the process of negotiations has become a tool for some political players in the country to gain short-term points, to improve their ratings. This is the only explanation for the statements such as those that this Government and this parliamentary majority do not want to solve the problem because they are afraid of the European legislation and standards. If this is the case then why did the European Commission recommend for the first time giving a date for opening negotiations - if this Government and this parliamentary majority did not make substantial reforms and did not adopt hundreds of laws we usually call “laws with the European flag”. Unfortunately, these short-lived political views do not stay in the country, they are being transferred to Brussels and the international scene. As a result, we should not be surprised that our European friends are warning us that in Brussels we must act unanimously and in the interest of the country, and not of some political option.
I do not sea this as treason, I am not saying that some of us are patriots and others are traitors. I think that unfortunately some of us do not have the feeling for the interests of their own country, a feeling for statehood that our predecessors from Ilinden 1903 or Ilinden 1944 had, the feeling that Cento had. This is why today, when we are celebrating the 8th of September, I would like to appeal to all the political factors to show more unity in the realization of our Euro-Atlantic integration and in the process of negotiations for finding a solution for the name issue. This is the only way if we want to resolve the open issue in a reasonable time-frame and to conclude the process of our Euro-Atlantic integration.
I believe that as a country, as citizens, we have the capacity to achieve this. All of us who live here are part of Europe, to which we belong not only geographically but also civilizationally, and we have contributed to the historic and cultural development of Europe.
European Macedonia, dear friends, is a debt we owe to our predecessors, and even more to the future generations.
Long live the 8th of September!