Since gaining independence from former Yugoslavia in 1991, a small member of the socialist federation stood from the rest as the only one that has done this in a peaceful manner. Following this approach, the country now known as North Macedonia has faced both internal and external problems during its 30 year existence but has never given up on engaging its neighbors in communication that breeds cooperation.
One such example is The Agreement on Friendship, Good Neighborliness and Cooperation, signed in August 2017 with the Republic of Bulgaria. This has been an essential step and confirmation of the new course of the state, in which relations with neighbors and resolving outstanding issues are a top priority of political leaders and its diplomacy. The agreement paved the way for further development of relations between North Macedonia and Bulgaria and the prospects for intensive and strong cooperation in bilateral and multilateral terms. One of the main goals of the agreement was to show that the past can be the foundation of future cooperation.
Another example materialized less than a year later, in July 2018. The Prespa Agreement was signed, which enabled the country to return to the path of realization of the strategic goals, defined at the beginning of its independence – integration and full membership in European and Euro-Atlantic structures. This agreement, through a constructive dialogue between the diplomats of the two countries, overcame the decade-long problem between the two neighbors and reaffirmed the will of both sides to establish a new historical framework for strengthening mutual trust, building good neighborly and friendly relations. The Treaty is a true example of respect for the fundamental principles of Articles 1 and 2 of the Charter of the United Nations.
Both these agreement led to progress and at the NATO Summit held in July 2018 the Republic of North Macedonia received an invitation to start accession talks for NATO membership. After the successful completion of the talks in February 2019 the Accession Protocol was signed, and in March 2020 the country became the 30th full member of the Alliance.