08 September 2009


The Republic of Macedonia celebrates Tuesday its 18th anniversary since the successful referendum, at which Macedonian citizens voted for independent and sovereign state.
A convincing majority exceeding 95 percent of citizens who came out at the referendum on September 8, 1991 responded positively at the referendum question - Are you in favor of independent Macedonia with the right of its accession in a future alliance of sovereign Yugoslav states?
The results from the referendum were preceded by the adopted Declaration for Independence at the first multi party Macedonian Parliament on January 25, 1991. The will of the people for independent state was confirmed with the declaration for acceptance of the results from the referendum on September 18, 1991 at the Macedonian Parliament. The next important step in strengthening of the state was the adoption of the Constitution on November 17, 1991, which was supplemented after the 2001 conflict and signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement. The international-legal status of the state was definitely confirmed by an acclamation of the United Nations General Assembly on April 8, 1993, when Macedonia was admitted as the 181st full-fledged UN member.
However, due to Greece's opposition and pressure regarding the constitutional name, the UN accession was carried out under interim reference Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Talks for overcoming of the name dispute are still ongoing under UN auspices. Macedonia today has already established diplomatic relations with 160 states worldwide and is recognised under its constitutional name by 125 countries, three of which members of the UN Security Council - China, Russian Federation and the USA.
The 18 years of Macedonia's independence did not pass without problems and difficulties. Three-digit inflation at the beginning of the 1990s, the Greek embargo, Kosovo refugee crisis and 2001 conflict were real challenges and threats to a young Macedonian state which hindered her way in accomplishing the strategic goals - strengthening of democracy and integration in Euro-Atlantic structures.
In 2005 Macedonia gained EU candidate status. Process of approximation of Macedonian legislation with EU legislation, power decentralisation and defence reforms marked recent years.
Despite meeting all criteria for full-fledged membership in NATO at the Bucharest Summit in April 2008, the Republic of Macedonia received only conditional membership invitation after Greece - due to the name dispute - used the right of veto and blocked the accession. Macedonia celebrates its 18th anniversary in light of the new report from Brussels on the country's progress on the road to European integration, as well as date for start of EU membership talks.
Greece threatens again that due to the name dispute it will also block country's EU accession. Independence Day is celebrated with numerous ceremonies and events. Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanovski organised Monday evening a reception in the Parliament and the Macedonian Army marked the holiday by firing 10-gun salute in Skopje's Ilinden barracks.
On Tuesday, an academy will be held in the Macedonian Opera and Ballet, addressed by President Gjorge Ivanov.

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