Gruevski: Obstructions are our challenge that we must deal with

You have just returned from China and in several days you will leave for Hamburg, Germany and from there to Vilnius, Lithuania. Just 10 days ago you were in Vienna at the European People’s Party Summit, and afterwards you visited Estonia and Kaliningrad in Russia. In April you visited several towns in South America. How will you explain so frequent international activity in the past couple of years?

My main goal and wish is to do anything in my power to improve the living conditions in Macedonia. Mostly these visits are political and economic and sometimes they are only economical or only political. Many of them are connected with the efforts to attract investors that will open new jobs in Macedonia, establish or boost relations, friendships with countries of the international community.

A company from Detroit has announced that it will invest in Macedonia. What is the response?

Somewhere the response is weaker and somewhere it is better, it depends on many factors. One of the factors is the logistics that we have in a certain country, in terms of preparation of the event, informing the companies and persuading them to come to the event. For example Mike Zafirovski has helped us a lot by opening gates and giving a strong recommendation to large companies whose owners and managers are his friends. In India for example, besides the promoter and the embassy, Subrata Roy has helped us a lot by inviting the most influential people at the country’s presentation.

In Turkey, we have huge political support by PM Erdogan and engagement of the Turkish Economic Chamber. Last year we had presentations in China where key support was the economic chamber and the authorities. Everywhere is different. Somewhere we have 200 or 300 even 400 present companies, but sometimes there are 30 or 40 companies. In Detroit we have visited only three plants and one of them has already announced its investment in Macedonia. The number of the present companies and quality of the companies are important as well as their selection by those who invited them.

How do you assess the last visit to China?

The last visit to China was successful and useful. We have met the new Chinese President and the new Prime Minister. The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Trade and the Deputy Foreign Minister. At the two meetings, having heard the conditions for doing business in Macedonia, they noted that we need stronger promotion for what we are offering to China, before Chinese companies. What we are trying to achieve is to participate in the US$10 billion package given by China to Central and Eastern European countries as well as attracting Chinese companies which plan to build capacities in Europe. We have returned from this friendly country with an excellent impression and with hope that the cooperation will be strengthened.

The issue of not signing the South Stream gas pipeline project with Russia was left hanging in the air. Are there any changes or indeed the reasons for not signing the agreement are technical?

Finally on Friday the Russian government approved the project and announced the signing. We have very good relations with Russia which is a result of our engagement in this direction. I do not think that there any significant reasons or hidden intentions for the South Stream. Russia is a huge country and some things are moving more slowly than expected. The important thing is that everything is finalized and the Russian government itself has announced this and scheduled agreement signing soon.

Do you think that China and Russia are bothered by our intention of becoming NATO and EU member?

They have never mentioned such thing. I think they are familiar with the situation and orientation of our region, but our wish is to cooperate with everyone and to build excellent and friendly relations with them as the EU and the NATO build such relations with them. Globalisation connects countries regionally as well as for an example BRIC countries or NATO member states.

Do leading countries from the NATO and the EU oppose to opening of Macedonia's foreign policy to several countries and continents in the past years?

There have never been such remarks or suggestions neither direct nor indirect. We are following the EU foreign policy in this direction. We all fight for better future and more quality life for our citizens. There is no cooperation without personal communication, dialogue, inter-state agreements and promotion. As the US president and EU leaders visit India, China, Russia, Brazil in an attempt to do something good for their citizens, me and our government are doing the same thing.

Several countries plan to continue participation in the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan after 2014 in form of trainings etc, with a decreased number of soldiers and policemen? What is the Macedonia’s plan in this regard?

Firstly, I want to emphasize the role of our soldiers in Afghanistan and their great job which was highly commended and it is for respect and congratulations. Macedonia will probably stay in Afghanistan after 2014 with a decreased number of soldiers aimed at training Afghan security forces.

In relation to the EU and the NATO you have said several times that we were facing injustice. Do you remain committed to the efforts for membership?

The membership in the EU and the NATO besides all injustice towards us, remain our top priority. It is in the interest of Macedonia and the region as well. The obstructions we have are our challenge that we must deal with.

There are many analysts asking why we want to be admitted into the EU whose future is endangered?

Because it is in the country’s interest at the moment. I do not know whether it will be in our interest after 20, 30 or 50 years. It is not only for the structural funds but also for many other benefits that we will have as a small country in such turbulent region. I know that in these times because of many economical, political and security reasons, the membership would help Macedonia.

What is the goal of the letter you have sent to Samaras?

Everything I wanted to say I said it in the letter. I have no additional comment. I have chosen to be a politician who will openly, clearly and unambiguously send messages, without hidden intentions, political games, tricks or bluffs. I say what I mean, regardless of whether someone likes it or not.

Is there any answer from Samaras?

Not for now. We have to wait.