Statement by the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski after Receiving the Progress Report for 2011

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have just received the Report prepared by the European Commission, concerning the progress that our country has made in the past year.

We are pleased that this year, as in the previous 2009 and 2010, the European Commission has made a positive assessment of everything that the Macedonian institutions and the citizens realized in the previous period in the field of European integrations of the Republic of Macedonia.

I would like to point out that the greatest acknowledgement of the positive course of our Euro integration and proof that the country is indisputably moving forward towards the European Union is the confirmation of the recommendation for starting the accession negotiations between the Republic of Macedonia and the European Union. This is the product and assessment of all that has been done so far.

The recommendation of the European Commission additionally stimulates us to continue on the path of reforms and European integration, and the fact that it comes for a third time proves our commitment to this process, regardless of the denials and attempts of all sorts of politicians and individuals.

The confirmation of the recommendation for starting the accession negotiations is the summary assessment of the overall progress of the Republic of Macedonia, and this in circumstances when we faced certain challenges which we overcame, represents a signal that the reform process yields results, and the modernization of the country continues on the right track.

The Report lists some positive assessments, insights and recommendations for the reforms and situations, and in some parts recommendations, suggestions and indications for a more intensive and dynamic work in spheres where a stronger, more tangible advancement is needed. The Government appreciates and respects all recommendations and indications of the European Commission, and starting even today, with an intensified engagement and consideration, will commit itself to fulfilling them, in order to achieve an even greater progress and bring Macedonia closer to the European Union.

Lastly, allow me to briefly discus the statement of the respected European Commissioner  Stefan Füle, and sincerely, honestly and kindly to convey to him that it will not be helpful for providing pressure for the name issue, to have a strategy of overemphasizing certain remarks regarding the judiciary and the public administration, along with the alleged problem with the freedom of expression, and all that when we are conducting substantial reforms for three years, reforms that have not been started for 17 years; also overstating the remarks about the fight against corruption, an area in which we have had a positive progress for 5 years on the international list of Transparency International for the fight against corruption (improved by 43 places); as well as the deliberate omission of the adjective “Macedonian”, which does not have anything to do with the relations with this Government or any other in the previous period. Quite the contrary, all this hinders the solution of the main problem for our Euro integration, a problem for which all of us are aware that is as such, the problem that the Hellenic Republic has with our constitutional name, the Republic of Macedonia and our identity, language and nationality, which are Macedonian.

I would mention that, if we have been working hard for three years on the reforms and we are achieving these reforms, simultaneously being blocked by some irrational, virtual dispute, which is not based on the European values and standards, and we are achieving them persistently, even in this state of blockage, then it is more than certain that we have not invested half, but three times more than the regular potentials to succeed and to remain committed to the process of Euro integrations from which we do not step down. And it is certain that we did not give only half our hearts, but rather - three hearts.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia for the support they provide in realizing the reforms and the Euro integrations. This support is our greatest acknowledgement, our obligation and our motive, to continue with all the reforms, the modernization of the Macedonian society and bringing the Republic of Macedonia one step closer to the highest European standards, principles and criteria. The support from the citizens for our commitments is a motive to continue the efforts for overcoming the remaining challenges that stand in our European and Euro Atlantic integration path. We will give our best to overcome these challenges, which, although are not directly based on the European standards and values, are real and significant.

Also, I would like to express gratitude to the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia and all other state institutions, political parties, the NGO sector and the media, for their support in the Europeanization of the Republic of Macedonia.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the European Commission too, as well as all friends of Macedonia, such as the Members of the European Parliament and other European institutions, as well as the Delegation of the European Union in Skopje.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Republic of Macedonia is moving ahead. The success is, and always will be mutual, and it depends on our own potentials and commitments.

Thank you.