Republic of North Macedonia – member of NATO and the European Union

Membership in NATO and the European Union are Macedonia’s strategic commitments. They imply better living standards, modern legislation, and higher wages, security of the state and its citizens, new investments, free movement.  They are a guarantee for private ownership, freedom and independence of the person, legal and economic safety. Membership in NATO and the European Union implies support for policies that will put an end to partisan judiciary and prosecution, biased partisan media and oligarchs.

Our national priority will be to make the Republic of Macedonia a sovereign, valued and prosperous international subject. The Government has a clear vision on how to reach the country’s strategic goals: the development of good neighborly relations and integration of the country into the European and Euro-Atlantic structures. 

The Government will implement Macedonia’s strategic goals by taking concrete steps towards a considerate, realistic, and statesmanlike and professionally led foreign policy. It is the only way towards overcoming challenges and threats to progress and security. These are the only policies that can be real contributing factors for promotion of our strategic interests globally. 

The European Commission’s last report is fully based on the findings of Reinhardt Priebe’s expert team – blurred lines between party and state, all-pervasive organized crime and corruption, and massive violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms.

The Government of the Republic of Macedonia will engage in serious and strong international activity in view of enabling Macedonia to start accession negotiations with the EU by the end of next year. Success in this regard can only be attained by a visible domestic reform agenda. Consequently, our key strategic decisions will be based on the recommendations included in the Priebe Report, the urgent reform priorities and the recommendations listed in the High Level Accession Dialogue with the EU. The Government will launch decisive and indiscriminate fight with organized crime and corruption, fundamental reforms in view of promotion of the rule of law and the establishment of independent institutions which will guarantee equality of all citizens under the Constitution and the laws in the Republic of Macedonia.

The Government of the Republic of Macedonia will send for adoption to the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia a National Foreign Policy Strategy of the Republic of Macedonia. The Strategy will be drafted in an inclusive process, through consensual support by all stakeholders in the society. Key foreign policy issues will be regularly debated in Parliament and we will try to solicit support across partisan lines.

Based on this strategy, the Government will transform the Republic of Macedonia’s involvement in the Berlin Process from passive participant to an active contributor and actively engage in the implementation of its regional networking agenda. 

Integration, progress and security are highly dependent on good and productive neighborly relations. The Government of the Republic of Macedonia will impose new dynamics in Macedonia’s relations with its neighbors, and insist on constructive cooperation in all spheres on both bilateral and regional level.

The Government will recruit all state potential to reinstate the positive climate and trust in our relations with the EU and US, as well as with our neighbors and make the Republic of Macedonia regional leader again. 

Internationally, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia will guarantee every citizen of the Republic of Macedonia the right to enjoy his or her own ethnic, cultural, linguistic, religious, gender or any other identity. It is a vision conformed to all civilization attainments. We will dedicate all our efforts to mirroring these principles in our relations with our neighbors - for the sake of the entire region and Europe as a whole. 

Stemming from the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, the Government will actively engage in building consensual positions on all matters of state and national interest with all relevant stakeholders in the country. We will actively engage in overcoming the imposed name issue by Greece and will not accept discussion on identity grounds. We will consult the citizens for possible solutions.

The Government will oppose all attempts for changes to the national, linguistic and cultural identity of the Macedonian people or any other ethnic community in the Republic of Macedonia. The Government will focus on regional and good-neighborly cooperation. In view of improving regional progress and stability, we will intensify exchange and cooperation with all our neighbors in all currently-pursued areas through: strengthened participation and influence in regional initiatives; serious and active involvement in infrastructure, energy and telecommunications projects; cross-border development zones in support of the development of Republic of Macedonia’s rural, i.e. border areas (by using EU funds); reinvigoration of initiatives for new border crossings to neighboring countries; and promotion of new international and local border-crossings for citizens residing in proximity of  borders. 

The Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will attend to the well-being of the Macedonian national minority living in the neighboring countries. We will restore the support in education, culture and language by providing books, textbooks, teachers, lectors and plays, without interference and full respect for the internal affairs of our neighbors. We will strengthen the ties with our Diaspora by financially supporting Macedonian language classes in Macedonian diplomatic missions in cities that will declare interest. We will reopen the Macedonian language, literature and culture lectorates across the world, ignored and forgotten over the years.

We will improve ties with our Diaspora by setting up “virtual consulates” providing all the necessary services and information. Every embassy or consulate will have to be equipped with an easily accessible and efficient Q&A system. In addition, we will reinvigorate the long ignored system of legal counseling for members of the Diaspora, focused on international standards and judgments made by international bodies, especially the European Court of Human Rights.

Following Macedonia’s strategic goals and the analysis of current state of affairs, the Government will set up new, politically and financially optimal, and especially efficient diplomatic network. We will strengthen the embassies in countries of strategic importance for the Republic of Macedonia. Selection of diplomatic personnel will be based on full respect of professional and human qualities. Macedonia’s foreign policy will be based on clear objectives, well-defined coordination and professional diplomatic network. In the next four years, the Government will devise a plan for acquisition of premises to meet the most urgent needs of our diplomatic and consular missions abroad.

Our approach is based on the development of a culture of dialogue, debate and full transparency in the process of EU accession. In the first year of the mandate, we will launch a transparent process for nomination of Macedonia’s Chief Negotiator, hopefully chosen consensually between government and opposition, who will start preparing and drafting the negotiating positions for Chapters 23 (Judiciary and Fundamental Rights) and 24 (Justice, Freedom and Security). 

The implementation of the South East Europe Strategy 2020 will be reintroduced in the government agenda with specifically reserved finances. As part of the Republic of Macedonia’s new regional initiatives we will opt for the establishment of Regional Gender Ombudsman promoting gender equality policies in the Western Balkans and the establishment of the Regional Political Academy for political party capacity building hosted by Macedonia and financed through IPA.  

The European financial support scheme will be geared towards the general Europeanization of the country. IPA will no longer be perceived as the instrument intended solely for preparing the public administration for negotiations for EU membership, but capacity building of all actors in society. In this sense, funds will have to be made available for municipalities, schools, trade unions, marginalized groups, employers, unemployed persons, small and medium enterprises, civil society organizations, universities and research institutions, and other informal groups of citizens. 

The Government will immediately publish a comprehensive report on the exact amount of lost (unused) EU funds, thus soliciting an open process of increased transparency regarding their management and use. In coordination with the European Commission, we will offer instruments for faster and more successful use of EU funds.

We will establish a special team dedicated to use of funds and opportunities provided by the Western Balkans Investment Fund (WBIF) and the Joint Assistance to Support Projects in the European Regions (JASPERS).

The Government will invest in teams working as EU framework consultants by financing their training abroad. They will assist target groups in preparing fiches for European projects – small and medium enterprises for accessing finance under COSME; students, pupils, professors and universities for applying under the Erasmus Plus grant scheme; participation of research centers, universities, enterprises and innovators in the Horizon 2020 program; production houses and media in Media; applications to the EaSi program for social innovations designed by civil society organizations, municipalities and public enterprises; access to the Culture programme for cultural centers, production houses, artists and theaters; Customs for the Customs administration; the Fiscalis programme for the national tax administration; and the EU Civil Protection Mechanism for municipalities and regions. 

All entities who will succeed in securing co-financing from other European funds will be supported by other appropriate measures – from application to implementation. In view of unhindered use of European funds, the Government will establish a so-called Development Fund for skills and capacity building of all potential European funds users and matching up funds necessary for co-financing (fundamental challenge when it comes to IPA and other European programmes, such as Horizon, COSME, EaSI, Erasmus Plus, Europe for Citizens, Creative industries, Media, etc.). The Fund will be linked with the active employment measures of the Republic of Macedonia, especially in the area of co-financing and the youth guarantee. 

The Government will support the so-called voucher system, particularly beneficial for farmers when applying for IPARD resources. Instead of expecting them to draft projects, the Government will earmark funds for consultants supposed to assist this target group. Farmers will receive vouchers to pay consultants, who will be expected to assist them around the clock until the project is completed.