Henceforth, each and every one of us should say in unison - this is our Macedonia, this is our victory. What you see around you is our due towards institutions of the state and towards the deeds of heroes who had made sacrifices in creating the state, and we should say this out loud proudly, Premier Nikola Gruevski stated in his speech delivered at a ceremony on Thursday marking the country's Independence Day.
"In the course of these 20 years we have created an independent and democratic state. We have gone through a slow and difficult transition process. A number of essential reforms have been implemented. We have seen the good and the bad, conflicts and reconciliation. However, what we have created is a unique and functional system, respecting differences and demonstrating tolerance. We have given an example to many European countries that different cultures can live together, which is question of will and choice. We build this system on a daily basis, but I believe this will help every Macedonian citizen in finding the right place. This system is the biggest benefit during these 20 years and an enormous investment for the future", stressed PM Gruevski.
Macedonia, though small by size, he added, has equally great and sound foundations as any other European country. The foundations are the courage, determination and sacrifice made by generations for their homeland.
"Today's holiday is a celebration of victory, a victory of a legacy transferred from generation to generation as a memory that mustn't fade."
In the past, Macedonia was the motherland of great people, whose names are uttered with serene benevolence and awe. Macedonia even now continues to produce unique heroes, he said.
To be one's own master, Gruevski underscored, is the wish of every nation in the world.
"To learn freely about our own values and history, to cherish your own tradition and culture is invaluable for each and every sacrifice made," Gruevski said in his speech amongst other things.
While elaborating his concept of Macedonia, based on the philosophy of the free spirit, the right of choice and faith in God, he said Macedonia is a country of free citizens.
"Our future depends on ourselves and no one else. This glorious independence and sovereignty to which we bow today is an enormous civilization right that we have acquired. We need to upgrade it. Our progress and strength depends on ourselves. I am convinced that as nation and generation we will achieve new horizons. We are free citizens in a free state. We pass our own decisions. We are the ones deciding about the future, not Belgrade, Sofia or Constantinople. The citizens of independent Republic of Macedonia are the ones who decide", added Gruevski.
According to him, one will win if one believes, the victory is faith to a large extent, whereas the value system should be nurtured, truth must be cherished and fought for, while labor should always be acknowledged.
The PM urged everyone to embrace the national unity over the defense of the civilization and natural right of name and identity.
"They ask me which is our name policy. This is the concept we promote and we ask for the support from all Macedonian citizens. The Constitution will not be changed in order to alter the constitutional name - Republic of Macedonia. We will not accept ideas and proposals jeopardizing the Macedonian national identity, nation and language. We will not allow the acceptance of any solution by individuals, government or parliament without the prior referendum of Macedonian citizens. Let's all unite over this. Let this be our red line", emphasized PM Gruevski, adding that the country is stronger and more powerful if united.
Let's unite our energy, he continued, in building ties among all citizens, developing coexistence, promoting values for a better future, for actions speaking of a nation that knows when to stand firmly in the defense of its traits.
PM Gruevski said he offered the concept and platform of political and national unity over things that would surely lead us forward.
"Let's all unite - Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, Vlachs, Roma, Serbs, Bosniaks, Christians, Jews, Muslims... All of us, regardless of the political, ethnic, religious or national affiliation. Let's unite for development, protection of what naturally belongs to us, what we have acquired and what mankind has bestowed to us, but also upgrade it. Let's unite around the idea that our country can only advance if every citizen is educated in all fields", he stressed.
Gruevski urged for unity over the concept that the Macedonian nation required measures for development of the entrepreneurship and innovative spirit as prerequisite for economic progress of the individual.
"Let's alter the system, but also the mentality. Let's unite around the energy for improving the economy, higher growth rates, more foreign investments, new jobs for our citizens. Let's unite in favor of better health care system, modern hospitals with sophisticated apparatus, as well as reformed system that puts the patient not doctors in the center of attention," Gruevski said.
We may and should have differences in terms of the ideology and roads to the goal, in decision-making, political discrepancies about some laws, but there could be no divisions over the most significant issues that are of vital importance for the citizens, the nation's progress, the PM said.
Gruevski's address was followed by unveiling of the "Warrior on a Horseback" statue and its grandiose fountain and the performance of solemn song ‘Macedonia’ by 20 musicians, Macedonian Opera and Ballet Choir, Philharmonic Orchestra and folk ensemble 'Tanec'
The celebration was wrapped up by musical happening, featuring 90 singers or bands that have marked the country’s music history for the past 20 years.