NORTH MACEDONIA: A UNIQUE EXAMPLE IN SOUTHEAST EUROPE AND BEYOND
Twenty years ago, in 2001, North Macedonia was engulfed in an armed conflict that threatened to turn into a civil war and 16 years later, in 2017, a political crisis escalated with a storming of the Parliament, that also, threatened to push the country into complete destabilization. These events seriously damaged the international credibility of North Macedonia but the country, in both instances, managed to rise democratically, successfully implement the domestic reform agenda and pursue a successful foreign policy. In more than one way, all these developments underlined that the country has been a global success story, a fact that was pointed out by European and global leaders.
North Macedonia is one-of-a-kind because it aspires to achieve its strategic goals by implementing a creative and constructive approach that will help find solutions to open bilateral issues with neighbors. The country has already signed such documents: the Final Agreement on Resolving the Name Disputes with Greece (the so-called Prespa Agreement) and the Agreement on Friendship, Good Neighborliness and Cooperation with Bulgaria. Additionally, with the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement after the conflict in 2001, modern foundations were laid for its internal arrangement. In this way, North Macedonia evolved into an active contributor in building and strengthening regional cooperation, stability and good neighborly relations, and at the same time as a rare and successful model of a functional multiethnic society.
These agreements are a unique example in the region of Southeast Europe and beyond, of how bridges should be built to overcome differences, increase mutual trust, bring citizens across the border closer together and their prosperity. Applying in practice the European models for resolving open issues, with good will and dialogue, North Macedonia in a very concrete way manifested political commitment and leadership in order to build and improve relations with its neighbors and international partners.