Friday, 24 January 2014, Zagreb, Croatia
ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT VELJANOSKI IN THE CROATIAN PARLIAMENT
Distinguished President, Josip Leko,
Distinguished Members of the Parliament,
Ladies and gentlemen,
First and foremost allow me to share the pleasure from the given opportunity, on behalf of the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia, to address before this esteemed audience.
I stand here before you, Representatives of the Croatian people and citizens, with a great piety and respect.
The feeling of pleasure is even greater, since I brought and share the sincere expression of friendship and respect of the citizens of my country, Macedonia. Macedonians and Croats have got numerous reasons for pleasure from the quality of mutual relations.
Official Skopje and Official Zagreb, both in the past and today, as well as in the future years, are a good example how, here, on the Balkans a sincere friendship is built and sustained.
Macedonian and Croatian people have similar destiny.
A destiny filled with difficult moment, great falls, but also strong national successes.
A destiny filled with events, which today are measurement for sacrifice and strong will for a brighter future.
The heritage from SFRY is our common denominator.
Our joint history gained new meaning there.
In regard with the good, but also with the bad aspects of this system.
Regardless of all ups and downs of our former mutual state, it is my pleasure to conclude that Croatia has always been a sincere friend of Macedonia during those socialist times, but also Macedonia was a sincere friend of Croatia.
The new liberalism blowing from Zagreb and Ljubljana strongly echoed in Skopje.
The new “winds of change” being among the strongest in Croatia, contributed in acceleration of the Macedonian independence.
In this context the Declaration of Independence of Croatia, from June 1991 contributed, three months later in the decision of the Macedonians to take the similar step with the adoption of their own Declaration of Independence.
Difficult processes of shaping this sovereignty and independence followed, which unfortunately, in Croatia had a dramatic shape.
That is why, from this stand, I would like to extend the deepest respect for the sacrifice of the Croatian people, and to pay the deepest condolences for the families of the victims that are embedded in the altar of your freedom. In the same time, as is appropriate, I would like to call that these events must never be repeated and be an important lesson for all of us being here for centuries and who need to cooperate and respect each other.
Croatia was among the first countries that recognized the independence of the Republic of Macedonia.
This happened on 12 March 1992.
For us, in Macedonia, this is an act which is the greatest whiteness for the quality of our mutual relations.
Thank you for the manner on which the Macedonian minority is treated in Croatia in the past years.
We are extremely grateful for the overall assistance and support received by the Macedonians in Croatia.
They have their associations, and several schools in Croatia, where the Macedonian language is learned as well.
Also, it is valuable to mention and to express gratitude for the official recognition of the Macedonian Orthodox Church by Croatia, which is here to service the religious needs of the Macedonians.
This treatment towards the Macedonian minority is a confirmation that for democratic Croatia, as it is the case for us, in Macedonia, the minorities are a bridge that unites us.
In the same time, we understand this as an obligation of all Macedonian state institutions, but with similar seriousness and care to treat the members of the Croatian minority in the Republic of Macedonia.
We have made many steps forward in this area, and I believe that our two states become an example for democratic governance that should and must refer to the members of different ethnic and religious minority groups.
Macedonia and Croatia, in addition to the mutual past, share joint projections for the future.
We have common future.
It arises from the deep human values which are characteristic for the region we live in.
Macedonia and Croatia, which gave so much to the European continent, have an obligation and right to become a component of all shapes of security, economic, political and any other integration.
We have walked the path towards the full fledged membership in the NATO Alliance together.
Jointly implemented the hard and difficult reforms in the defense and security sector.
We jointly participate in the international NATO Missions for preservation of the international peace and values of the Alliance.
We gave great sacrifices on this path, since we strongly believe that this is the only alternative for us.
Nevertheless, unlike Croatia, which became a Member of NATO at the very Bucharest Summit in 2008, Macedonian did not.
Regardless of the fact, that we, similar to you, fulfilled all conditions, we did not manage to become part of the Alliance.
The reasons are well known.
It is the non principle treatment we suffer for years because our name is Macedonia.
But, we do not have other name.
We are and we will be.
In this context, I would like to express sincere appreciation for the fact that Croatia, from the beginning, recognized the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name, becoming one of over 130 countries we have these relations with.
This is priceless assistance for us, which provides us to spread the truth further.
We are dedicated on finding a solution for the discussions with the Republic of Greece and we sincerely hope that we will surpass this situation.
The Membership of the Republic of Macedonia in the European Union is our strategic interest.
There is an absolute agreement among all parties for achieving this goal.
The support of the citizens is also strong.
Still, regardless of the reforms we made, contrary to the fact that we constantly receive positive remarks, we are not joyful.
We are not joyful because the successes are not valuated with our entrance in the next phase of our integration in the Union.
We have received positive Reports from the European Union, which contain a recommendation for start of accession negotiations, but the Council of Europe, due to the objection of Greece, has not confirmed this recommendation.
However, it is reality.
As difficult as it is, we have to face it.
We continue forward; assisted by our friends, we do everything to modernize the society in accordance with the Union’s standards.
In his context from this stand, I would like to thank for the overall assistance from Croatia on the Macedonia’s path to EU.
For us, this is a precious treasure that provides us to more easily implement the planned reforms.
Croatian experience which is selflessly shared with us provides us to easily face the obstacles on the path towards the full-fledged membership.
In the same time we are thankful for the overall diplomatic and political assistance and support.
Thank you for the numerous speeches, praises and efforts from the Croatian Representatives in favor of the Republic of Macedonia on all levels in the European Union’s institutions.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The future of the region we live in has to be different than the unpleasant past we had in our recent history when we laid the foundations of the independence.
I am convinced that we have capacity and strength for this.
Macedonian – Croatian relations undoubtedly are a model for the region but also for Europe.
With the success and the result we have on bilateral level, we raise the standards for other states of our immediate neighborhood, but also other European states.
We have a lot to be proud of.
We laid strong relations that guarantee that Macedonian – Croatian friendship will be developed and promoted in the future.
I convey you the greetings of the citizens of Macedonia.
I convey you the sincere emotions and great expectations.
The father of the Croatian Independence, Franjo Tudjman once said: „IMAMO NA ČEMU GRADITI SVOJU POVIJEST. IMAMO ZAŠTO BITI POVIJESNI I ČUVAJMO TO ŠTO SMO STVORILI. ZNAJMO DA JE NAŠA SUDBINA SAMO U NAŠIM RUKAMA“.
Finally and fully agreeing with the statements, I will add: LET US BE PROUD AND PRESERVE WHAT WE HAVE DONE IN OUR MUTUAL RELATIONS.
LET US BE PROUD OF THE GREATNESS OF OUR DEED.
MAY MACEDONIAN – CROATIAN FRIENDSHIP BE ETERNAL.