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Macedonian Diplomatic Bulletin No. 73

Macedonian Diplomatic Bulletin No. 73

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Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia

MACEDONIAN
D i p lo m at i c B u l l e t i n

MDB No. 73

IN FOCUS
SOLIDARITY IN ACTION
MACEDONIAN SEECP CHAIRMANSHIP-IN-OFFICE 2012-2013
page 6 - 7

Prime Minister Gruevski Attends Astana Economic Forum ............ Page FM Poposki Attends Conference “10 Years after Thessaloniki: An Appraisal of the EU Perspective and Challenges in the Western Balkans” . ................ Page

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Interview: H.E. Mr. Juha Ottman ............................................................................................................ Page 11 From My Angle: Mr. Dejan ProsHev ................................................................................................... Page 13

may 2013

DIPLOMATIC NEWS

MDB
Macedonian Diplomatic Bulletin was founded in October 2006 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia.

Speaker Veljanoski Pays 2-Day Official Visit to Ireland
A delegation of the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia led by Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanoski paid a 2-day official visit to Ireland, the country that currently presides over the European Union, on 8-9 May. Aside from meeting his host, Sean Barrett, Speaker of Dail Eireann, the Lower House of the Irish Parliament, in the course of his visit, Speaker Veljanoski also met Irish President Michael D. Higgins, Minister for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton, and representatives of the Joint Committee on European Union Affairs, the Irish-Macedonian Friendship Group, and the Macedonian community in Ireland. He also attended meetings of the Lower House of the Irish Parliament and the Irish Senate.

Filip II Makedonski 7, 1000 Skopje Republic of Macedonia www.mfa.gov.mk mdb@mfa.gov.mk Editor: Vladimir Efremovski Editorial Board: Saso Markovski, Zuko Rizvanski, Shaban Jashari, Katerina Stavreska, Olga Janevska Jovanovik, Sejfullah Shaqiri, Elena Georgievska, Dragan Todorovski, Natasha Hroneska, Nikola Gjorchev, Boris Mircevski, Kristina Todorovska, Bojana Jovanoska, and Goce Karajanov Photo: Ljupco Blagoevski Published monthly by: Macedonian Information Centre Director: Dragan Antonov Chief Translator: Aleksandra Ilievska

Macedonian-Albanian Business and Investment Forum Held in Tirana
In cooperation with the Agency for Promotion and Support of Tourism of the Republic of Macedonia, the Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia in Tirana and the Agency for Foreign Investments and Export Promotion of the Republic of Macedonia organized for the first time the Macedonian-Albanian Business and Investment Forum in Tirana on 22 May. The commitments of both Governments to promoting economic relations between the two countries through direct targeting of sectors, such as tourism, food, wine and agro-business, in which there is potential for furthering cooperation, were voiced at the forum. As for the promotion of the tourist potentials of the Republic of Macedonia, the organization of this forum coincided with the period in the course of which the Macedonia Timeless campaign organized by the Agency for Promotion and Support of Tourism of the Republic of Macedonia was in full swing and within the framework of which, during a period of one month, Macedonia’s tourist potentials were promoted on over 200 billboards, on the most popular television channels and in the top newspapers in Albania. The Memorandum for Cooperation between the Agency for Foreign Investments and Export Promotion and the Albanian Investment and Development Agency, expected to be one more impetus for closer cooperation and export promotion, was signed at the forum.

Naum Naumovski Borce 73, 1000 Skopje, Republic of Macedonia www.micnews.com.mk The articles published in Macedonian Diplomatic Bulletin do not necessarily represent the views of the Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Macedonian Information Centre. © 2013

No. 73 May 2013

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DIPLOMATIC NEWS

Prime Minister Gruevski Attends VI Astana Economic Forum
Prime Ministers Gruevski and Akhmetov agreed at their meeting that there were no open issues between the two countries, stressing that the good and friendly relations should go hand in hand with closer economic cooperation. Prime Minister Gruevski also attended the VI Astana Economic Forum and took part in the session “Dialogue of leaders: Ensuring sustainable economic growth in G-Global format.” He said on that occasion that the global economy was still under the influence of the global challenges, as experts were still unable to pinpoint the solutions to the problems generated by the European debt crisis. On the sidelines of the economic forum, Prime Minister Gruevski had a meeting with Romano Prodi, former Italian Prime Minister, Néstor Osorio, President of the UN Economic and Social Council, and Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), as well as a brief encounter with Vuk Jeremić, President of the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly.

A high-ranking delegation of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia led by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski paid a visit to the Republic of Kazakhstan from 22 to 25 May. During the visit, Prime Minister Gruevski had a bilateral meeting in Astana with Serik Akhmetov, his Kazakh counterpart, and a working lunch with Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Third World Conference on Inter-Religious and Inter-Civilization Dialogue Held in Skopje
The Third World Conference on InterReligious and Inter-civilization Dialogue focusing on “Freedom and DignityFundamental Values in Inter-Human, Inter-Religious and Inter-Cultural Relations” marking three jubilees – 1,700 years of the Edict of Milan, the proclamation that permanently established religious toleration for Christianity within the Roman Empire, 70 years of the Holocaust of the Jews and 10 years of the Dialogue Among Civilizations, the Summit of Heads of State of Southeast Europe organized in Ohrid by UNESCO and late President Boris Trajkovski and sending out the message of peace – was held in Skopje on 10-12 May. The plenary sessions “Pluralistic Societies and Religious Tolerance,” “Living Together by Respecting Diversities” and “Media Contribution to Inter-Religious and Inter-Cultural Dialogue” were held at the conference. The issue of strengthening and further encouraging dialogue was also tabled. The forum entitled “The Role of Religion in Raising a Tolerant Youth” also took place within the framework of the conference. Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, the patron of the conference, said in his opening address that individual human rights and values were prerequisites for prosperous inter-human, inter-religious and inter-cultural relations and that dialogue was a mechanism to put them into practice. He also added that the need for dialogue and religious tolerance today was indispensable and that as never before this dialogue had an impact on the protection and maintenance of global security. Culture Minister Elizabeta KanceskaMilevska and Valentina Bozinovska, Director of the Commission for Relations with Religious Communities and Groups, addressed the conference as well. Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov underlined in his closing address that in the past six years Macedonia, organizing three world conferences, demonstrated that it was capable of brining different religious leaders at the same table. He also said that Macedonia had a centuries-long tradition of coexistence and religious tolerance and was one of the few countries in Europe where Orthodox Christians and Muslims worshipped God under the same roof.

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DIPLOMATIC NEWS

Minister Poposki Pays Working Visit to Denmark
Within his working visit to the Kingdom of Denmark on 13-14 May, Nikola Poposki, Macedonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, held separate meetings with Villy Søvndal, Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Nicolai Wammen, Minister for European Affairs. Foreign Ministers Poposki and Søvndal shared views at their meeting about the political and economic relations between the two countries and the process of integration of the Republic of Macedonia into the EU and NATO, as well as about regional and multilateral issues. The Danish minister said on that occasion he was certain the Republic of Macedonia was going to maintain the rate of carrying out reforms. Also, he reconfirmed Denmark’s support, both political and technical, in the process of Macedonia’s EU integration. The progress of the Republic of Macedonia in implementing reforms and the expectations that at the summit of the Council of the EU in June a decision would be taken to set Macedonia a date for opening membership negotiations with the European Union were tabled at Minister Poposki’s meeting with Minister Wammen. Minister Poposki participated in the Conference on “20 Years that Changed Europe: The Copenhagen Criteria and the Enlargement of the European Union” and

delivered a speech at the panel discussion entitled “How EU Enlargement has Shaped and Continues to Shape Europe.” He also had a meeting with representatives of the Macedonian-Danish Business Network.

Debate on Diaspora Importance for Republic of Macedonia Held in Skopje
The Geostrategic Research and Foreign Policy Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia organized a debate on “The Importance and Role of the Diaspora for the Republic of Macedonia” on 22 May. Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki said in his address at the start of the debate that the representatives of the Macedonian community abroad were the first ambassadors of the country. “Our aim is to make Macedonia a better place to live and those that do not live in Macedonia yet maintain relations with us may certainly contribute to this by promoting our country either as a good tourist destination or an attractive destination for doing business. Whether we do enough in this context is a completely legitimate question, yet no matter how much we do, we can still do much more,” Minister Poposki said. Vasil Naumov, Director of the Agency for the Diaspora, stressed that a procedure of establishing a council of diaspora investors was in progress. With a view to tapping the potential of the diaspora, he said, we need to define their exact number, which is why diaspora mapping has been undertaken. The diaspora representatives to the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia, university professors and experts in this field participated in the debate, which was also followed by representatives of the diplomatic missions of the countries with large Macedonian communities. The insight that the debate has offered will be used in drafting the Strategy for Cooperation with the Diaspora by the Government of the Republic of Macedonia.

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Minister Poposki Attends 123rd Session of Council of Europe Committee of Ministers
Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki participated in the 123rd session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on 15 and 16 May, centering on the Council’s activities in ensuring long-term efficiency of the European Convention on Human Rights, the politics toward the neighboring regions and the cooperation with the European Union. Minister Poposki addressed in his speech the reforms and the future activities of the Council of Europe, underlining the need of focusing those activities on the bid for seeking out a response to the numerous challenges that the citizens of Europe face and which result from the deepening economic crisis, the mistrust of institutions and the rise of extremism. Within the framework of his visit to Denmark, Minister Poposki held meetings with Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Lucinda Creighton, Minister for European Affairs of Ireland, the current chair of the EU, Frans Timmermans, Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg, and Birgitta Ohlsson, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden.

Poposki Attends Conference “10 Years after Thessaloniki: An Appraisal of the EU Perspective and Challenges in the Western Balkans”
Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki attended the conference entitled “10 Years after Thessaloniki: An Appraisal of the EU Perspective and Challenges in the Western Balkans” in Dublin on 24 May. The changes to the enlargement policy of the EU in general and in relation to the Balkans, the post-Lisbon challenges – the crisis of the euro, the economic stabilization and the future steps in integrating the Balkan countries into the EU – were all discussed at the conference. In his address at the session focusing on the future of the Union’s enlargement with the Balkan countries, Minister Poposki said that “for the Balkans there is no other credible and sustainable alternative to full European integration,” emphasizing that the Republic of Macedonia has been continuously meeting all Copenhagen criteria for opening membership negotiations with the EU, as, in fact, confirmed by the European Commission in its Spring Report. In the course of the conference, Minister Poposki met his hosts, the Irish Ministers of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, Eamon Gilmore and Lucinda Creighton, Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic and Croatia, Miroslav Lajčák and Vesna Pusić.
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SEECP Chairmanship

SOLIDARITY IN ACTION MACEDONIAN SEECP CHAIRMANSHIP-IN-OFFICE 2012-2013

With the formal meeting of the ministers of foreign affairs of the participating states of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) in Ohrid on 31 May, the Republic of Macedonia ended its one-year successful Chairmanship of the SEECP. Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki chaired the meeting, which, in addition to the ministers of foreign affairs of the SEECP participating states, was also attended by EU Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle, Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretary General Goran Svilanović and other special guests, including Petrit Selimi, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, and high-ranking representatives of a number of international organizations. Opinions about the current state of affairs in the Region were shared at the meeting. The Annual Report of the Regional Cooperation Council Secretary

General 2012-2013, the RCC Strategy and Work Program 2014-2016 and the Ohrid Declaration were also endorsed and a Joint Statement of the ministers of foreign affairs of the SEECP participating states was adopted. The Ohrid Declaration, inter alia, highly praised the Macedonian Chairmanship of the SEECP and the implemented agenda that was highly dynamic. Minister Poposki informed the attendees on the attained priorities over the course of the Macedonian Chairmanship and stressed in this regard that Macedonia successfully chaired over 30 ministerial and expert meetings. The SEECP enables us to maintain stability and strengthen prosperity, Minister Poposki underlined and added that the region had witnessed massive changes. In this context, he said, it has to be pointed out that the spirit of solidarity in building closer relations of cooperation among us prevailed.

Minister Poposki stressed in his speech that this year was marked by numerous opportunities for continuing the process of EU enlargement, reiterating the message that the Thessaloniki agenda should translate into actions. “In this context, we appeal to the European Union and its member states to continue working on the process of enlargement,” he said. The new concept of joint action of the countries of the Western Balkans aiming to intensify their European integration was given a strong and unanimous support at this formal meeting, while the meeting of the G-6 initiative, made up of Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Kosovo, aimed to confirm the viable ways and modalities of using the pre-accession funds (IPA 2) that the European Union offers. Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle stressed that over the past 15 years, the

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SEECP had been an authentic voice of the region. “Let us be completely open to regional cooperation! The EU is ready to cooperate with the region closely and to help enrich the agenda with activities dedicated to the European integration of the region. There are no borders to our cooperation!” he said. Radu Podgorean, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Romania, the following chair of the SEECP, deemed the meeting in Ohrid as a step ahead toward Euro-Atlantic integration and said that Romania strongly backed the European aspirations of the Western Balkans. Ivan Mrkić, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, said in the capacity of a previous chair that all countries of the region moved toward the same goal – full-fledged membership of the European Union. Goran Svilanović, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council, highly praised the success of the Macedonian SEECP Chairmanship and stressed that further progress in the process of European integration required responsibility and readiness for tackling issues relating to economic and social development, justice, internal affairs, energy, human capacity building, security, media independence, etc. On the sidelines of the meeting, Minister Poposki had a bilateral meeting with his Bulgarian counterpart Kristian Vigenin, which was, in fact, their first meeting following Vigenin’s recent appointment to this position. He also

had meetings with Serbian Foreign Minister Mrkić and Kosovo Deputy Foreign Minister Selimi. At Minister Poposki’s meeting with his Croatian counterpart Vesna Pusić, the Agreement on Euro-Atlantic Partnership between the Governments of the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Croatia was signed. The fifth annual meeting of the Regional Cooperation Council was also held within the framework of the Macedonian Chairmanship of the SEECP on 30 May. Opinions were shared at the meeting concerning regional cooperation and the current situation in the region of Southeast Europe, while the Annual Report of the RCC Secretary General for the period between 15 May 2012 and 25 April 2013 and the RCC 3-year Strategy

and Work Program 2014-2016 were presented and endorsed. The 10th Conference of Presidents of Parliament of the SEECP was also held within the framework of the Macedonian SEECP Chairmanship in Ohrid on 27-28 May. It was agreed at the Conference that a Parliamentary Assembly of the countries of this region should be formed during the next SEECP Chairmanship in Bucharest. The new regional body, the Parliamentary Assembly of the SEECP, as Macedonian Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanoski put it, should contribute to the promotion of cooperation and coordination of efforts of the Parliaments of the participating states in turning the region into a zone of peace, stability, solidarity and good neighborly cooperation in the best interest of all citizens and countries in Europe.

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MACEDONIA IN FOCUS
INTERVIEW

Turkey Aims to Contribute to Lasting Peace and Political Stability in Balkans
Mr. Türbedar, as an expert on foreign policy studies at the International Policy Research Institute (IPRI) at the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV), could you please introduce us to the work and activities of the foundation and the institute? TEPAV was founded in December 2004 with the support of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB). It is a private, nonpartisan, and non-profit think-tank devoted to independent research. The mission of TEPAV is to contribute to the competitiveness of the Turkish private sector, the public policy design and the capacity building needs of the public sector. Its major working disciplines are governance, economic policy and foreign policy. TEPAV’s scope of activities are consultancy and advisory services, policy design, strategy development, impact assessment, surveys and field studies, monitoring and evaluation, project management and implementation, capacity building and training, organizing academic events and networking. There are ten institutes and four working centres established under the auspices of TEPAV. The Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Turkey share excellent political communication and friendly relations. What are the preferential fields of mutual interest where their successful bilateral cooperation can further intensify? Turkey is a country that supports the Republic of Macedonia in all areas. Turkey was among the first countries to recognize Macedonia’s independence under its constitutional name. Turkish officials say on every occasion that they see Turkey and Macedonia as neighbors, despite the absence of a common border. The two countries attach great importance to their bilateral relations and there is also mutual desire to further develop cooperation. Turkey and Macedonia have a common vision regarding how disputes in the Balkans can be resolved. In my opinion, the two countries should make good use of the existing friendly ties between them so as to further advance their economic relations. Turkey’s economic development over the last years has had an impact on the entire Balkan region, including the Republic of Macedonia, as evidenced by the increased number of Turkish direct investments. What do you expect in the future in terms of the economic cooperation between the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Turkey? Turkey's political and cultural relations with the Balkan countries are at a satisfactory level. Although economic relations are improving from year to year, they are still far from being at the desired level. Turkey’s free trade agreements with the countries of the region, the privatization processes in the region, the investment incentives, the trade possibilities with third countries and the easy access to qualified labour force

Mr. Erhan Türbedar, PhD TEPAV, Balkan Studies Coordinator
make the Balkans attractive to Turkish businessmen. Turkey’s foreign trade with ten Balkan countries was 2.9 billion USD in 2000 and rose to 17.5 billion USD in 2012. Even though in the last twelve years Turkey’s foreign trade with the Balkans countries has increased six-fold, the share of the region in Turkey’s general foreign trade remained low. Balkan countries accounted for 5.96 percent of Turkey’s total exports in 2011 and 3.96 percent of its total imports. By February 2013, the cumulative value of Turkish foreign direct investments (FDI) in the ten Balkan countries was around 4.8 billion USD, while Turkey’s total outward FDI reached 33.78 billion USD. According

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MACEDONIA IN FOCUS
to this, Turkey invested 14% of its total FDI in the Balkans. On the other hand, between 1972 and March 2013, Turkey undertook 7,051 construction projects of a total of 245.7 billion USD all around the world. The share of the ten Balkan countries of this sum stood at 4.6%, or 11.2 billion USD. Macedonia’s share of Turkey’s trade volume with the ten Balkan countries was only 2.2 percent in 2012. Generally, Turkey’s foreign trade volume with the Western Balkan countries is at quite low levels. According to data of the Ministry of Economy of Turkey, by February 2013 the cumulative value of Turkish FDI in Macedonia was 621 million USD. This means that within the shares of Turkey’s total FDI in the ten Balkan countries 13% goes to Macedonia. By March 2013 the value of Turkish contracting services in Macedonia reached 946.2 USD. Turkey is making sincere efforts to further develop its economic relations with all Balkan countries. However, the state is not the one that invests, but it is the private sector. As a state Turkey is encouraging Turkish businessmen to do more business in the Balkans, but as always their investment decisions are tightly connected to the improvement of the investment climate of a given country. By sharing best practices amongst each other, seeking common comparative advantages and reinforcing regional cooperation, the Balkan economies will be able to make the region more attractive to foreign investors. I hope that as Turkey continues to strengthen economically, its welfare will spill over to the surrounding areas too. Mr. Türbedar, what determines success in the foreign policy of the Republic of Turkey and what are the parameters of this policy towards the Balkans. What are your standpoints? As of 2002, Turkey entered a process of important social and political transformation accompanied by a rise in national income per capita that eventually positioned Turkey as the 16th largest economy in the world. Economic success, along with the improving political stability in the country, led to the growth of self-confidence in Turkey’s foreign policy. With a proactive foreign policy spanning from the Balkans to the Middle East and the Caucasus, Turkey endeavors to contribute to the peace and stability in these regions. At the same time, while working towards a global order based on justice, equality and transparency, Turkish leaders envision their country not solely as a regional power, but as a global power. In line with this, Turkey has taken a pro-active stance and followed a multidimensional foreign policy approach. Turkey’s twin goals are: first to make peace with its neighbors through policies of conciliation, and second to act as an agent of mediation between its clashing neighboring countries. Doors of friendship between Turkey and the Balkan states have been opened long ago. And with varying intensity, Turkey’s interest in the Balkans has been a constant throughout the history of the Republic. Turkey’s active presence in the Balkans is not something new. During the 1990s Turkey contributed both to the crisis management and to the peace building efforts of the international community. Turkish soldiers and police officers were among the first to be engaged in the post conflict areas of the Western Balkans. Today, Turkey’s goal is to contribute in consolidating lasting peace and prosperity for all peoples in the Balkans, and to promote political stability and issues of importance for the entire region. With the aim of achieving these goals, Turkey’s diplomacy is trying to act at local, regional and international levels. Turkey believes that our nations should be more aware of the advantages of regional cooperation in the Balkans, which is among the most important elements of Turkey’s foreign policy. Especially through the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) and the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), which is the operational arm of the SEECP, the region has to show that it is able to take responsibility for its own future, take a common stance in formulating regionally attainable goals and create conditions for progress in the spirit of tolerance and cooperation.

In the press
“We need to promote NATO enlargement and reward Macedonia and Montenegro, thus encouraging the aspiring countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia,” said Michael Turner,

US Congressman from Ohio and member of the Macedonian caucus at the US Congress on 7 May 2013. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at a meeting of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs on 7 May 2013 that a solution to the name issue between Skopje and Athens was possible. However, in his view, this solution may be achieved if there is political will on both sides. He took the occasion to

send an encouraging message to Macedonia and Greece for final resolution of the name issue. “We are ready for the accession talks once a solution to the name issue is found. I encourage all parties involved to make their best and find a solution to this issue.” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on 31 May that he hoped that the European Council was going to set Serbia and Macedonia dates for opening accession talks at its meeting in June.

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MACEDONIA IN FOCUS

Macedonia in Honor of St Cyril

The Macedonian state and church delegation led by Parliament Speaker Trajko Velajnoski paid a visit to Italy and the Holy See on 23 and 24 May on the occasion of the event “Macedonia in Honor of St Cyril.” The event was opened by Speaker Veljanoski in the course of which the mixed chamber choir “Sveti Kliment Ohridski” staged a concert at the San Giovanni dei

Fiorentini Basilica, while Metropolitan Petar of Prespa and Pelagonija held service at the grave of St Cyril in the Basilica of San Clemente. The Macedonian delegation had an audience with the new Pope Francis. Speaker Veljanoski congratulated the Pope on his election as the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church wishing him best in pro-

moting peace, cooperation and friendship in the world. He also invited him to visit Macedonia and the region, stressing that his visit would be an additional positive impetus for all that is happening in the region. Speaker Veljanoski and the parliamentary delegation also held a meeting with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State of the Holy See.

Minister Poposki Attends Meeting of Foreign Ministers of EU Member States and Candidate Member States
Invited by Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Nikola Poposki, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia, attended the annual traditional meeting of the ministers of foreign affairs of the European Union member states and candidate member states in Brussels on 27 May, which took place in the form of a working dinner. The main topic of the meeting was the stability in the EU neighbourhood, with a focus on the latest developments in the southern neighbourhood of the EU, as well as on the prospects for further promotion of relations and cooperation between the EU and the countries of the Eastern Partnership. Minister Poposki expressed Macedonia’s support for the vision of the international community for political resolution of the crisis in Syria and welcomed the appeals for holding an international peace conference on Syria. He also informed the audience on Macedonia’s participation in the informal Friends of the Syrian People Working Group. During his working visit to Brussels, on 27 May, Minister Poposki held a meeting with Stefano Sannino, Director General for Enlargement at the European Commission, at which Macedonia’s European integration was discussed in the light of the reforms in the key areas of the High Level Accession Dialogue in the coming period.

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Diplomacy and Community
INTERVIEW

Opening Accession Talks Best Way to Support Reforms
Your Excellency, twenty years since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Finland will be observed on 27 December 2013. How do you assess cooperation between our two friendly countries and possibilities for its future enhancement in all fields of common interest? Bilateral relations between Finland and Macedonia are excellent, as proven by the frequent high level political visits between our countries over the last few years. However, it is true that bilateral cooperation could be enhanced, particularly in the field of trade and investments. I think tourism from Finland to Macedonia, to Lake Ohrid in particular, has potential for growth. Also, there is a growing interest in Macedonian wines in the Finnish consumer market. Macedonia’s integration with the European Union provides a natural framework for bilateral cooperation. As a Nordic country, Finland is also keen on sharing its experiences and best practices on regional cooperation with the Nordic and Baltic Sea region. Regional cooperation is important especially in view of Macedonia’s integration with the EU. Macedonia has been playing an active role in many regional cooperation arrangements, such as the SEECP, which Macedonia currently chairs. The meetings at the level of heads of state and government between the two countries are rare and irregular. What is your view on the possibility and need for closer cooperation at the highest level aiming to give an additional impetus for increased cooperation between the Republic of Finland and the Republic of Macedonia? I would not say that high level meetings at the government level are rare. On the contrary, there have been numerous ministerial visits from Macedonia to Finland, such as Prime Minister Gruevski’s visit to Finland in June 2012 and Foreign Minister Poposki’s visit to Finland in October 2012 to mention but a few. The Finnish Minister of the Interior visited Skopje in April 2013. In addition, high level bilateral meetings have been arranged in the margins of multilateral events, such as the UN General Assembly. High level visits are a useful tool to foster bilateral cooperation, but also to discuss many regional and international issues. In this respect, I am confident that these high level visits between our two countries will continue also in the future. During the recent visit of the Finnish Minister of the Interior, Päivi Räsänen, to the Republic of Macedonia, numerous initiatives for enhancing cooperation with the aim of benefiting from the Finnish European integration experience and for joint projects under the ministries of the interior, educational projects and projects for migration flow management were instigated. In addition, numerous Twining projects supported by Finland have been realized in the Republic of Macedonia. Are there any possibilities for expanding cooperation with other Twining projects in other fields? As I mentioned earlier, EU integration provides a natural framework for cooperation, and the European Commission funded Twinning and Taiex cooperation have proven to be an excellent instrument to provide technical assistance and support from administration to administration. In addition to the above mentioned sectors, Finland is interested in offering expertise in the fields of environment, agriculture and forestry, education and public administration reform, and social welfare, just to mention a few. Of course, I also hope that the recent visit of the Minister of the Interior will lead to practical cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs. The economic cooperation between the two countries is at a relatively low level. In June of 2012, a Macedonian delegation headed by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski presented the benefits of investing in the Republic of Macedonia before representatives of Finnish companies at a business forum in Helsinki. Is there any interest with the Finnish com-

Ambassador of the Republic of Finland to the Republic of Macedonia
panies in making direct investments in the Republic of Macedonia? Finnish companies are currently very careful with any investments due to the economic crisis in Europe. So far, there have been no Finnish investments in Macedonia, but this could change when economic growth in the entire South Eastern Europe picks up. I also believe that the start of the accession negotiations with the EU will increase the interest of the Finnish business in Macedonia. Macedonia has done a lot to promote the country to investors and has the highest scores in the region in various “Doing Business” indexes. However, it is important that Macedonia continues implementing reforms that improve its business and investment climate. Many of these have been covered by the High Level Accession Dialogue with the EU. In addition, I would like to emphasize the importance of internal political stability for investors when making decisions on investments abroad.
No. 73 – 2013  MACEDONIAN DIPLOMATIC BULLETIN

H.E. Mr. Juha Ottman,

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Diplomacy and Community
INTERVIEW
The Republic of Finland supports the Republic of Macedonia on its road to full EU integration. Your Excellency, how do you assess the possibility for the Republic of Macedonia to be set a date for opening EU accession talks in June? Finland has been supportive of the start of the accession negotiations based on the recommendations of the European

Opening Accession Talks Best Way to Support Reforms
Commission since 2009. We think this would be the best way to support reforms in the country and it would be a win-win situation for the entire region. I personally hope that a decision in June could be made to start the accession negotiations with Macedonia. However, a consensus in the EU Council of Ministers is needed. Even though the European On the occasion of 9 May, Europe Day, the Osten Gallery, the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Macedonia, the Hungarian Embassy and the French Institute in Skopje organized an exhibition of works by Victor Vasarely, a well-known Hungarian-French artist, at the Osten Gallery from 8 to 28 May. About 70 works of art of this globally acclaimed Independent exhibitions by Turkish painters Asiye Aslan and Lütfiye Bozdağ were laid out at the Aco Gjorcev Center of Culture in Negotino on 11 May. The event was part of the program of the Center for Promotion of The Creative Development Center organized the EU-funded high-school event “The Best for the EU” marking 9 May, Europe Day, on 8-9 May. A number of events in which high-school students from Skopje took part were held at a number of locations in the center of Skopje. The program of the events included theater shows, street performances of music, dance and fashion, exhibitions of photographs With the visit of the travelling bus of the European Union to the village of Murtino, Strumica Municipality, on 13 May, the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Macedonia, launched its information campaign “The EU in CloseUp”. The goal of the campaign, which includes 10 villages, is to offer information on the European Union through visits to rural areas and immediate meetings with Commission’s report from April was generally positive, the Council’s decision depends on the progress made in finding a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue with Greece, as well as the progress in fostering good neighbourly relations with Bulgaria. I strongly encourage the Government of Macedonia to continue efforts in this regard. artist, including drawings, collages, works done combining techniques, sculptures and graphics were displayed. The exhibition was opened by Aivo Orav, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Macedonia. The guests were also addressed by the Hungarian and French ambassadors who stressed that Vasarely was the symbol of Europe. Culture and Cultural Cooperation between the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Turkey and was organized in cooperation with the Turkish town of Tepecik. and a festival of short films. On the occasion of Europe Day and the victory over fascism, screenings of children’s films of Croatian and Czech production were organized at the Cinematheque of Macedonia from 15 to 21 May, while in cooperation with the Embassy of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Culture, Russian films were screened in 14 cities across Macedonia from 9 to 14 May. locals. EU Ambassador Aivo Orav said that the Delegation of the European Union conducted the campaign together with representatives of the Government, the Secretariat for European Affairs, the civil society and the embassies of the European Union member states in the Republic of Macedonia. Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki also joined the campaign in Vevcani on 30 May.

Victor Vasarely Exhibition Opens at Osten Gallery

Turkish Artists Exhibit in Negotino Events Marking Europe Day Held

EU in Close-Up Campaign Opens

MDB would like to extend a warm welcome and wish a successful diplomatic mission in the Republic of Macedonia to: H.E. Mr. Toko Dijakenga Serăo, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Angola, resident in Belgrade, and H.E. Mr. Amjad Odeh Adaileh, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, resident in Ankara.

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From My Angle

“The Tales of Hoffmann” by Jacques Offenbach Opens 41st Edition of May Opera Evenings
Macedonian O pera and Ballet
The Macedonian Opera and Ballet is a national institution that has existed with no interruptions for 66 years. It was founded in 1947 as part of the Macedonian National Theater, which, until 2004, had three ensembles: drama, opera and ballet. With an act of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia in 2004, it was proclaimed an independent national institution with its present title Macedonian Opera and Ballet National Institution headquartered in Skopje. The Macedonian Opera and Ballet made its first steps with a small team of professionals that expanded later with new members from the amateur orchestras and choir ensembles through auditions. When Lovro Matacic, the world-renowned conductor, came to Macedonia, the rise of the opera began. The orchestra, the choir and the team of soloists were all complete and a varied repertoire policy, also known as “the iron repertoire,” started taking effects. These conditions ensured the institution’s growth and quality and also contributed to the possibility of its promotion outside Macedonia’s borders, in all centers of Yugoslavia (Belgrade, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Sarajevo, Novi Sad) and beyond – Łódź (Poland), Nurnberg (Germany), Bucharest (Romania), Sofia (Bulgaria), Tirana (Albania), etc. The rise and growth of the Macedonian Opera and Ballet boosted audience interest, which was the motive to launch the May Opera Evenings Festival in 1972. The idea was to offer the audience a top-class artistic experience at the close of the season, presenting the achievements of other opera houses in Macedonia and also the accomplishments of Macedonian artists before the festival’s guests. Vasil Kjortosev, director and Chief Manager of the Opera of the Macedonian National Theater at the time, was the initiator of the project whose aim was celebrating the jubilee – 25 years of the establishment of the Opera of the Macedonian National Theater. The May Opera Evenings Festival is one of the few opera festivals in Europe. This year, it is held for the 41st time, which is a truly respectable number. Many opera lovers rightfully call the festival the holiday of music in the most beautiful month of the year. Taking into account the respectable number of festival editions and the audience interest in this significant cultural event, the art management of the house selected five operas and one ballet for this year’s edition of the festival. The festival traditionally opens on 9 May, Europe Day and Day of Victory over Fascism, yet only few people know that the true reason for opening the festival on this day is the first professional performance of an opera in Macedonia – the performance of “Cavalleria Rusticana” by Pietro Mascagni –on 9 May 1947. It is also a tradition for the opening to be with a premiere performed by the ensembles of the Macedonian Opera and Ballet. On 9 May this year, the 41st edition of the May Opera Evenings opened with the premiere of “The Tales of Hoffmann” by Jacques Offenbach, in which the soloists, orchestra, choir and ballet ensembles of the Macedonian Opera and Ballet all took part conducted by Maestro Alessandro D’Agostini of Italy, a long-time guest of our house whose Macedonian

Mr. Dejan ProsHev General Manager of Macedonian Opera and Ballet has in the meantime become quite fluent. Ursula Horner of Austria, well known to our audience as well, directed the show. Marija Veteroska was the set designer and Marija Pupucevska was the costume designer. The reception of the show by both the audience and the critics was excellent. The European Opera Days were also organized as part of this year’s May Opera Evenings whereby the Macedonian Opera and Ballet joined 106 European opera houses celebrating the art of opera. The performance “The Edge of Tranquility,” a combination of a theater play and a music recital about George Frideric Handel’s life by counter tenor Luigi Schifano of Italy and actor Paul Humpoletz of Great Britain accompanied by the quintet musicians from the Macedonian Opera and Ballet orchestra was shown as part of this cultural platform. On 13 May, we performed the popular ballet “Don Quixote” by Ludwig Minkus starring Arian Latifa (Cuba) and Vittorio Galloro (Italy) in the lead roles. Top opera soloists and conductors from around the world appeared in all remaining shows. “La Traviata” by Giuseppe Verdi, the most popular and most performed opera in Macedonia, was shown on 18 May. The repertoire of the 41st May Opera Evenings included two more operas by Verdi – “Attila,” which has recently been performed in Macedonia for the first time, and the magnificent “Aida,” with which the festival traditionally closes – thus marking 200 years of Giuseppe Verdi’s birth. “Attila” was performed on 22 May and Aida on 31 May, while “Lucia di Lammermoor” by Gaetano Donizetti was performed on 26 May.
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MY DIARY

The Path We Walk Together
Contributing to the welfare of the Republic of Macedonia is the initial point of all activities at the Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia in Ankara. A great deal of dedication and effort, long travels, presentations, meetings and above all creating a feeling of trust and consequently a favorable climate for action. Meetings with Turkish businessmen, well-performing firms and companies, visits to industrial zones and chambers, etc. Loving your work and loving your country is the driving force that every morning helps fulfill the need for creation and contribution to the country’s welfare. My goal is Macedonia’s economic stability and lowering the unemployment rate, as well as contributing to our country’s development in all fields. With concerted effort we are all going to help the Government and the Prime Minister on their path of prosperity and positive atmosphere in the Republic of Macedonia. We should simply put smiles on the faces of all Macedonian citizens and we may achieve that only through hard work. My post has taken me away from my country yet it is for the good of all Macedonians. It is quite commonplace for us as representatives of the Republic of Macedonia in Ankara and the Republic of Turkey to cooperate and communicate with one another in our country’s best interest. The subtly imposed atmosphere by the Embassy toward the patriotic feelings and responsibility to our own country has awakened the need for creation and building of our own future. The Macedonian future! We are all Macedonia. We create for Macedonia and the Macedonian citizen. In this way, the love, loyalty and feeling of belonging become prevalent and the results are inevitable. We have proven this many times as economic soldiers of our country in the Republic of Turkey. Excellent cooperation, respect, friendship and sincere attitude are the epithets that are modestly used to explain the activities that the ambassador and the economic promoters of the Republic of Macedonia in the Republic of Turkey are taking together. The trust and open-mindedness as well as the burning need to contribute to our country’s growth as the best is most rewarding for all of us in the Republic of Turkey, seeing ourselves as the mirror of the Republic of Macedonia. Our strength and advantage rest in our joint activities, forums, visits and meetings with the aim of attracting investors to the Republic of Macedonia. We show to all potential investors our seriousness, synchronized effort and mutual respect and coordination, thus creH.E. Mr. Goran Taskovski, ating a pleasant image that Ambassador of the Republic of contributes to a great extent Macedonia to the Republic of Turkey to their decision to come to our country. It is important to us that we come to the point when investments start taking effects in the Republic of Macedonia. It is most important to us that there are investments in our country, that as many of our citizens as possible become employed and that the Macedonian economy moves forward. I wish to stress that the working atmosphere in Ankara should serve as an example of cooperation and loyalty and an example of how one should work for one’s country. I would like to thank economic promoters Alev Sulejman of Izmir and Habil Mustafai of Ankara. The Republic of Macedonia should feel proud with such representatives in the Republic of Turkey fighting wholeheartedly for their country. Macedonia is loved with deeds!

Skopje Mandolin Orchestra Wins Grand Prix at International Slavic Music Festival
At the 9th International Slavic Music Festival held at the Children’s School of Arts named after M.A. Balakirev of Moscow, the Skopje Mandolin Orchestra conducted by Ramadan Shukri won the Grand Prix for best youth traditional instrument orchestra from among 30 participants of the Russian Federation and other Slavic countries.

Young Macedonian Scientists Win World Medals
At the 21st International Environmental Project Olympiad for scientific projects in chemistry, physics, biology and ecology held in Istanbul, out of 113 projects from around the world, Nikola Tastanoski and Branka Buntaseska, students of the Yahya Kemal College in Struga won the silver medal with their energy project “Environment-Friendly Powering of Planet Earth With Organically Made Solar Cells as a Renewable Energy Source.” Martin Josifovski and Martin Filipovski of the Yahya Kemal College in Gostivar won the bronze medal from 4,000 projects submitted by around 7,000 participants in the International Sustainable World Energy Engineering Environment Project Olympiad that took place in Houston, Texas (USA). From a total of 769 projects from all over the world sent to the international high school Global Environmental Issues – US (GENIUS 2013) Project Оlympiad, 16-yearold Filis Ajrus of Ohrid was selected as one of the 325 finalists. Her photograph is part of the project “Environmental Survivor” and will be exhibited at the Olympiad to be held in New York, USA, from 16 to 21 June.

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Turkey and Macedonia have maintained strong bonds of friendship based on common historical and cultural roots and shared values, since the inception of the independence of the Republic of Macedonia. The relations between our two countries have always been based on mutual respect, affection and understanding. It is undoubted that our bilateral relations will continue to be based on the same foundations also in the future. High level visits are important signs of friendly and good relations between the two countries. I would like to mention some of them which took place last year: Nikola Poposki, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, paid an official visit to Turkey on 14-16 May 2012. During his visit, “the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of the Republic of Macedonia on the Travel Conditions for the Citizens of Both Countries” was signed which allows both countries’ citizens visafree travel for stays of no more than 90 days. Turkish Parliament Speaker Cemil Çicek visited Macedonia on 17-18 May 2012. President Gjorge Ivanov, inaugurated TOBB (The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey) at the International Business Forum on 13 September 2012. During Culture Minister Elizabeta Kanceska-Milevska’s visit to Turkey, on 19-21 December 2012, the two countries’ Ministers of Culture signed a Programme for Cultural Cooperation, as well as an

agreement on opening cultural centers in both countries. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Macedonia and 21 December, the National Day of Turkish Language Education, Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, paid an official visit to Macedonia on 20-21 December 2012. All these visits and events represent the close and constructive relationship between our countries. The attainment and furthering of the welfare and happiness of our nations are the primary objectives of our states. Economic relations are a case in point in this respect. Turkey and Macedonia both have maintained economic growth and continued to attract foreign investments during the global economic crisis. Parallel to this, our commercial relations are developing at a rapid pace and we look forward to further strengthening of the economic ties to our mutual benefit. Our strong friendly relations in political and economic areas can also be seen in many other fields. For instance, as it is very well known, Turkey has fully supported the right of Macedonia to determine its constitutional name since the beginning. In this regard, I want to reiterate once more that we openly and strongly oppose actions aimed at preventing Macedonia’s EU membership on grounds that are not related to its performance or obligations

H.E. Mr. Gürol Sökmensüer, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to the Republic of Macedonia stemming from its aspirant status. The same concern applies to Macedonia’s NATO membership. Another aspect of our deep-rooted friendly relations is the human bonds between the peoples of Turkey and Macedonia. This unique piece of geography has been the home to millions of Balkan nationals for more than six centuries. Our cultures were molded together during the Ottoman Empire for centuries. Nowadays, there are citizens of Turkish descent and kinsmen living here, as well as citizens of Macedonian descent living in Turkey. Although Turkey is at an equal distance towards all the ethnicities in the country, the Turkish community, which is strongly loyal to the Republic of Macedonia, contributes to further advancement of the Turkish-Macedonian bilateral relations.

Silver Medal for Macedonian Men’s Bowling National Team
The Macedonian men’s bowling national team won the silver medal at the 5th Classic Team World Bowling Championship in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary, from 15 to 25 May. On their return, the national team members had a meeting with Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov who congratulated them on their tremendous success. The Macedonian national team scored five victories on their way to the final where they lost to the national team of the host country, Hungary.
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MY DIARY

Macedonia Has Right to Determine Its Name

EXPERIENCE MACEDONIA

32nd Edition of Small Montmartre of Bitola
In the Old Bazaar of Bitola, in the heart of the city, outside the Ss Cyril and Methodius Children’s Art Studio, the 32nd edition of the Small Montmartre of Bitola had its official opening on 23 May. Over 16,000 works of art from 539 schools in 30 countries around the world were sent this year as 1,148 of them were exhibited. At the opening ceremony, diplomas and gold palettes were presented to participants from Russia, China, Serbia, Turkey, Egypt, Macedonia and other countries, The Russian State University of Cinematography (VGIK), the world’s oldest film school, has awarded Milcho Manchevski, the Macedonian film director and Ambassador of Culture, with a degree honoris causa. The honorary doctorate is awarded by the Council of the University and it was presented to Manchevski by VGIK Rector Vladimir Malyshev. At the 20th edition of the International of Small Scene Theater Festival in Rijeka, in which 11 theater productions from Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Macedonia and Lithuania were shown, Macedonian actor Nikola Ristanovski won the best actor award Kole Angelovski, the doyen of the Macedonian comedy, won the Velika Liska best director award for the comedy “Oh, My Love” (“Ah, ljubov moja”) at the International Mostarska Liska Comedy Festival in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Competing against six productions of theaters from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, The production of “Beans” by Elin Rahnev directed by Ljupco Gjorgievski won the Grand Prix of the 24th International Small Theater Forms Festival in Vratsa, Bulgaria. “Beans” is a co-production of the Small Drama Theater of Bitola and the Dramatic while the Grand Prix went to contestants from Romania. Within the framework of the Small Montmartre of Bitola, art workshops were also held in Ohrid and Krusevo. Manchevski was a guest to VGIK with a teaching and production project funded by the US Government, involving all faculties operating within the framework of the film university. The project received great publicity in Russian and world media.

VGIK of Moscow Awards Honoris Causa Degree to Milcho Manchevski Rijeka Awards Ristanovski for “The Life of Molière” “Ah, ljubov moja” Wins Two Awards at Mostarska Liska 2013 “Beans” Wins Gran Prix in Bulgaria

for his performance in the Macedonian National Theater’s production of “The Life of Molière” by Mihail Bulgakov directed by Aleksandar Popovski.

this production of the Comedy Theater of Skopje, also won the Ahmed Obradović best production plaque, while actor Aleksandar Mikik won a Mala Liska award. The Croatian Exit Theater won five awards at the festival for the production of “Tomorrow is (not) Another Day” directed by Ivica Boban.

Puppet Theater of the Bulgarian city of Vratsa. Joana Popovska, Anastas Pop Dimitrov and Georgi Grozev of the Small Drama Theater of Bitola also won the award for most musical actor trio.

Top Awards for Macedonian Wines
The best Macedonian wines produced by the Tikves winery won numerous awards at the most prestigious global wine contests. At the 30th international wine contest International Wine Challenge 2013 in London, from more than 10,000 top-quality sorts and types of wine from around the world, the wines of Tikves won four silver and three bronze medals as three wines were singled out as wines of outstanding quality. At Decanter World Wine Awards 2013 also in London, from over 14,000 wines from 57 countries in the world, the wines of Macedonia’s largest winery won one silver and three bronze medals, while as many as seven wines were selected by the jury as outstanding. At the 19th edition of the “wine world championship” Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, at which 8,200 different types of wine from 50 countries were presented, the wines Temjanika Special Selection 2012 and Barovo 2011 won gold medals. Since its inception in 1994 until 2006 this contest was held in Brussels and since 2006 it has taken place in various cities of Portugal, Spain, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. For the first time this year it was held in a country of the former eastern bloc - the Slovak Republic.

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