Today, FYROM marks the 26th anniversary of its independence from the former Yugoslav Federation, which was proclaimed following a referendum.
During that time, this referendum was boycotted by Albanians, the second largest ethnic community in the country, because they requested autonomy and were not happy with the position that the new Constitution of the country gave them.
According to the data from that time, over 95% of the people who voted in the referendum held on 8 September 1991, voted in favor of the independence.
The referendum was preceded by the Declaration of Independence, which the first pluralist Parliament passed on 25 January 1991, while on 17 November 1991, it voted the new Constitution.
The first country to recognize this independence was Republic of Bulgaria, followed by Turkey, Slovenia, Croatia, Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, etc.
The state introduced the denar as its official currency on 26 April 1992 and on 18 August, it formed the Army. On 8 April 1993, in the General Assembly of the United Nations, FYROM was admitted as the 181st member of the United Nations, but with the reference Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as its name was not accepted by Greece. Meanwhile, the UN brokered talks between Skopje and Athens for the solution of the name contest.
So far, FYROM has established diplomatic relations with 170 countries of the world, while 135 countries have accepted it with its constitutional name, among them three members of the Security Council: China, Russian Federation and USA.
During the past 26 years of independence, the country went through a number of problems and difficulties. The three figure inflation at the beginning of the ‘90s, the Greek embargo, the crisis with the Kosovar refugees, the 2001 conflict and the recent political crisis were real challenges for the new state, slowing down its path toward the realization of its strategic goals, strengthening of democracy and integration in the Euro-Atlantic structures.
Although it had delivered all the criteria to become a NATO member, in the 2008 Summit of Bucharest, the country only received a conditional invitation, because Greece vetoed the accession as a result of the name contest.
In 2005, the country was granted the status of the EU associate member, while two years ago it also obtained a recommendation by the European Commission to start accession talks.
MPs talk about the 26th anniversary of independence
MPs of the first parliament of FYROM, which declared independence, offer their insights today, 26 later, about the achievements of the country.
The first Assembly Speaker, Stojan Andov, who announced the declaration of independence, says that the country has gone through many challenges.
“The biggest success of these years is the fact that the country continues to move forward. Meanwhile, what I consider to be a failure is the fact that every once in a while, particular structures hinder the progress of the country”, Andov said.
Mersim Pollozhani, who was MP at that time, told IBNA that Macedonian governing structures have constantly tried to build the state based on the Macedonian nationality.
“With the constitutional changes that we made, we built a united Macedonian state, but state policies so far have aimed at lowering the status of the Albanian community. But this was also helped by the incompetence of Albanians during the past 25 years, to be organized in a collective way against the nationalist policies of Macedonian governing structures”, Pollozhani says. /balkaneu.com/