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European spring day.

Numerous events--and not just events concerning the Republic of Macedonia's foreign policy--marked the month of May. The first interview of Gjorge Ivanov, newly-elected President of the Republic of Macedonia, for the Macedonian Diplomatic Bulletin; Ivanov's inauguration; his first visit to Brussels and the Kingdom of Belgium; his visit to the friendly country of Slovenia; the first meeting of Nikola Gruevski, Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, with Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French Republic; Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki's numerous meetings with his counterparts from the Kingdom of Sweden, the Italian Republic, the Swiss Confederation, and the Republic of Serbia; the traditional observance of the Ss. Cyril and Methodius holiday in the Vatican; and the spectacular concert of maestro Simon Trpceski and the Moscow Bolshoi Theater Orchestra in Skopje. These are just some of the central events that we, respected readers, covered in this issue of the Macedonian Diplomatic Bulletin and which I believe will draw your attention.

In addition to these numerous events, at the beginning of the month of May the Republic of Macedonia also joined the celebration of a very important holiday of Europe--9 May, the day when Robert Schuman, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the French Republic, read to the international press a declaration calling France, Germany, and other European countries to pool together their coal and steel production as "the first concrete foundation of a European federation". On this occasion, the Mission of the European Union in Skopje, in cooperation with the Centar Municipality, organized a rich program in the Macedonian capital Skopje, under the motto "Here today, in Europe tomorrow". Within the frames of this event, Erwan Fouere, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Macedonia, and Centar Municipality Mayor Vladimir Todorovik signed a Protocol on International Cooperation.

It was really a pleasure to be in Skopje on this spring day, which, besides the beautiful weather, also enabled everyone present to feel the spirit of European togetherness. The spirit that this small country with a four-year candidate status and rich cultural and historical heritage and tradition has been nourishing patiently all these years--ever since it declared independence--on its path to European and Euro Atlantic integration, despite all the obstacles.

It was interesting to see the 27 young people who represented the 27 EU member states march past; to be reminded of the Macedonian tradition through the songs and folkdances preformed by the students of Music and Ballet School Center (MBUC) "Ilija Nikolovski Luj"; to see how the high-school graduates perceive the European Union through their paintings; and to cheer the participants in the traditional waiters race. Of course, the tourism stands organized by the Chamber of Commerce for Tourism under the motto "We travel freely" were inevitable. I believe that when we mark this holiday again next year, the aforementioned motto will be a reality for the Macedonian citizens, considering the positive assessments that Macedonia received as regards fulfillment of the criteria for liberalization of the visa regime.

Next spring will come soon and so will this holiday. I am confident that there will be no Schengen wall between Macedonia and the big European family then and that a date for start of the negotiations for membership will be set, thus enabling Macedonia to proceed swiftly to where it has always naturally belonged.

Zvonimir Popovik, Editor in Chief
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Title Annotation:EDITORIAL
Author:Popovik, Zvonimir
Publication:Macedonian Diplomatic Bulletin
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:4EXMA
Date:May 1, 2009
Words:557
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