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Il-Ħamis, 13 ta' Settembru 2018 - Strasburgu Edizzjoni riveduta

8. Diskors ta' Zoran Zaev, Prim Ministru tal-Eks-Repubblika Jugoslava tal-Maċedonja
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  Presidente. – Salutiamo il Primo ministro dell'ex Repubblica jugoslava di Macedonia Zoran Zaev. Il Primo ministro si esprimerà di fronte al Parlamento europeo alla vigilia di un importante referendum che si svolgerà nel suo paese. Sulla questione del nome da dare allo Stato sono in corso trattative e si è giunti a un accordo con il governo greco, ma anche sull'integrazione verso l'Europa e sull'integrazione nel sistema della NATO.

Il Primo ministro è venuto di fronte al Parlamento europeo a illustrarci qual è la situazione nel suo paese. Per noi, come sapete, la stabilità dei Balcani è fondamentale e il dialogo interreligioso nei Balcani è fondamentale. Quindi lui sa bene che il suo paese può contare sul sostegno dell'Unione europea, ma credo che per tutti quanti noi sia interessante ascoltare qual è la situazione in questo importante Stato dei Balcani e capire qual è il futuro dell'intera regione attraverso le sue parole.


  Zoran Zaev, Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.(The following is a transcription of the interpretation of the original speech from Macedonian into English.) Mr President, I feel honoured and more than happy to have received your invitation and I want to express my gratitude for your warm welcome.

For our Macedonian people, this is a historic moment. This is the first time that a Prime Minister of our country has addressed the European Parliament in their own language, but yet I have the feeling that I am at home. I feel so good. It is so natural to be here in the home that we belong to, in the home of our European family, to feel invited and to feel welcome.

As you surely know, the people in our country are facing yet another historic crossroads. In the lead-up to this new historic challenge, we have received in recent weeks a great deal of encouragement from you. Many Members of the European Parliament, leaders of the Council and the Commission visited our country to demonstrate their support for the referendum on 30 September when the Macedonian people will decide on the agreement with Greece signed in Prespa. Citizens know what decision they need to make. This is not an easy decision. We will be a ‘Republic of North Macedonia’, but with recognition for the Macedonian people and the Macedonian language. We all know what benefits derive from this decision and we know that this is the best opportunity our country has been given thus far. We know that it is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we will not miss that opportunity. We will seize it because this is our ticket for entering the European Union and NATO.

Only a few days ago we celebrated our Independence Day. On 8 September 1991, the vast majority of our citizens voted in favour of a free, independent and sovereign state. This impressive result was based on a wide consensus. People placed the fate of their country before everything. They rose above their political differences. This consensus involved all ethnic and social groups that dreamed of a better life in an independent country.

I was 17 years old at that historic time in 1991. I was yet another of the many young people living and dreaming of life in a free society: dreaming of their future in an open society, aiming for progress. We didn’t want to stay any longer in the remnants of the former Yugoslavia that was turning into a regime. We did not want to be isolated from the rest of the world. We wanted to create a democratic country of opportunities, a union of prosperity where the rule of law guarantees justice and where we would be full of hope. We deeply believed in the opportunity we had. We believed in the end of political repression and an end to poverty. We believed in a better life in an independent republic. We were certain that the next generation would have more than we had ever dreamed of. We dreamed of being part of the European family.

We belong here geographically, historically and culturally, and we share European values. We see our future as part of the European Union. The perspective for EU membership is a mobilising factor bringing together all the stakeholders in society to work for the successful implementation of the reforms and to deal with challenges on that path.

Our people have worked very hard to accomplish their dreams and to reach their goals. Yes, we have made progress but this is not enough: 27 years later some of our dreams have still not become reality, and I am not satisfied because I know that we can do better. We are struggling with internal political conflicts. We are fighting not be isolated from the rest of the world, and we did have conflicts with our neighbours. As a small country and a young democracy, we are still facing great challenges, but we have never lost our vision and we have never stopped fighting for a better future. We will certainly not stop now. We believe that we are in our rightful place and we strongly believe in a better future. We believe in our future as a respected member of the international community and this proud European family. Joining this family will bringer greater stability for all of us and greater prosperity on the home front.

As Prime Minister, I assure you that we are doing everything possible to reach the standards of the European Union. We know the recommendations. They are our priorities: independent and democratic institutions, the rule of law, the fight against corruption, a professional, service-oriented public administration. We know there is a long road ahead of us. However, your warm welcome and your encouragement strongly motivate us and give us the strength to continue implementing our reform agenda.

The European idea is the guiding force and an inspiration in settling burning open issues in the region. The Republic of Macedonia is a case in point. Our strong faith in the European future was the key motive in reaching the historic agreements with Greece and with Bulgaria. We are proud of both agreements. I would like to thank my friends Boyko Borisov and Alexis Tsipras. We are a European success story, being an authentic model of a functional multi—ethnic democracy. We are a microcosm of Europe. We are living day by day the European motto, ‘united in diversity’ with all its advantages and challenges.

The political crisis we have overcome was, in fact, a fight for values, the kind of fight that can be seen in Europe, in the European and global setting: the fight for liberal values, the rule of law, human rights and freedoms, democratic governance, and an open economy as opposed to authoritarian nationalism. Our citizens have made their choice. They have committed themselves to European values and to a European Macedonia. We want to serve as an example and an inspiration for settling all bilateral issues in the Western Balkans and we strongly support finding sustainable solutions, founded on European values and international law, that will lastingly stabilise the region and will prepare the region for its integration into the European Union.

One of the most important issues that we needed to resolve was the name difference with Greece because this is a condition for starting negotiations for our accession to the EU and NATO. The strong motivation, and the model in the search for the solution of this difference with Greece, came precisely from the European Union, as the most successful peace project in the world: a model that has resolved great historical conflict situations, turning them into sustainable communities of friendship and trust. We share these European values. With the help of our European friends we have transformed our political misunderstanding with the Hellenic Republic within a community of good and friendly neighbours.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my friend Alexis Tsipras, knowing that it is not easy for him either. We had delicate, sensitive talks. This is what responsible leaders need to do. We both made concessions but we are getting so much more in the interests of our peoples and in the name of our future. We have put an end to a difference that was an obstacle for our country for a full 25 years. We have laid the foundations for new friendly relations and for a partnership that will enhance stability, security and the economy in our region.

We have reached an agreement about our respective, specific identity features once and for all and I believe we will make the right choice. I believe that we have a good respectful agreement that affirms our identity and guarantees our future – the future of both peoples and states.

The Prespa agreement is an excellent model for settling sensitive identity issues and it can be applied in other regions worldwide. The Prespa agreement is a compromise to shift from the status quo and move forward to the future. Now we have the opportunity to leave our past behind and take this step to the future. It is up to the citizens of our two countries to decide whether they will take this step across the threshold to the future. For Macedonia it is an opportunity that we have been awaiting for so long. In 1991, we voted for independence in a referendum and, again in a referendum, we need to take the next step, to create a realistic possibility of becoming the 30th member of NATO and closing, chapter by chapter, the process for our pending membership of the EU and of the European family.

The referendum on 30 September is much more than just a referendum on the Prespa agreement. This is a referendum for our future. This is a referendum on our second independence, a referendum of historic proportions, on a par with 1991. We know that our freedom and independence as a small country is only guaranteed as a member of the international community, as a member of the EU and NATO. This is not only for the Republic of Macedonia: all our neighbours will have a better future when we act as an alliance and a family. The integration of the Balkan countries in the EU will bring about even greater stability around Europe. There can be no strong Europe without a successful Balkans region, and the Balkans can be successful only when integrated into the EU.

This vision motivated us to take this historic step and encourage the process of reconciliation – building a community and an alliance in the region. The consolidation of the EU can – and should – take place along with the European consolidation of the Balkans. The benefits are multiple for the Union: strengthening stability in Europe; contributing to nurturing European values; more successfully handling security risks, migration and the fight against terrorism; preventing the influence of third parties; and enhancing the role of the EU on the international stage. Indeed, it was addressing security challenges and risks during the migration crisis that showed that we need to work together and that we can be trustworthy partners and allies. The European integration of the Balkans is a geostrategic investment in a stable, strong and united Europe based on common values and standards.

Membership of the EU will bring a lot of benefits and new opportunites for the people of the Republic of Macedonia. The EU and NATO will allow us to strengthen our economy. Even now we can see it: the economy is on an upward trend; growth rates rise by the month; foreign investments are a reality now, and we know that there is more to come.

The EU and NATO are a chance for a better living standard for the coming generations. Membership of the EU and NATO is a guarantee for our independence, freedom and democracy, better education, better health care, and better infrastructure. These are the chances that we are getting and this is the responsibility that we need to take. I know that it is up to us.

We also know what we can give back to our European family. We can give our loyalty, as we have already proved on many an occasion. We can give back true passion for the European idea. For us, Europe is much more than just a union, much more than just growth and economic security. For us, Europe means living in a modern, equal and open society with clear democratic standards, with the rule of law, solidarity, better courts and equal justice for all. We are a multi-ethnic country. We know and respect the benefits of community, we cherish the concept of a single society for all and we know that strength in society comes from unity. This is why we have a broad consensus in our country for entry into the EU and NATO. This consensus unites Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, the Roma, Serbs, Bosniaks the Vlachs, Egyptians, Bulgarians and everyone else living in Macedonia.

When it comes to the strategic interests of our country, I also wish us to be united, and to be united in politics as well. More than three—quarters of our population support membership of the EU and European values. Yes, our people want to be part of this family. They feel European and they belong to Europe. In 1991 I was 17 and this was everything I ever dreamed of: to be part of the European family and have a European future. The young in our country still dream about this today.

Twenty—seven years later, I am the Prime Minister and I am addressing the European Parliament on behalf of the citizens of my country in my own Macedonian mother tongue. It is now for us to decide on our future and we are grateful for this historic moment. We are proud that our beloved country finally has a chance to take membership of the EU and NATO full circle.

I can feel this right now. I can feel how close we are to accomplishing this dream for the European Macedonia. This is why I believe that the referendum will be a success and that our citizens will vote for Europe. The referendum on 30 September is our stake in and our contribution to a stronger Europe: to unity and greater stability in the region. We consider today’s event and this invitation to address you, as support by the European Parliament for our European future and for taking the right path.

Thank you, President Tajani, and thank you dear Members of the European Parliament for the honour you have given us today.

(The House accorded the speaker a standing ovation)


  President. – I think that the message from the European Parliament for your country is a good message today. Prime Minister, thank you for coming. You will have our support. Your country will have our support for the stability of the Western Balkans. Thank you very much.


(The sitting was suspended at 12.10 pending the vote)



Aġġornata l-aħħar: 7 ta' Jannar 2019Avviż legali - Politika tal-privatezza