9th Meeting of Presidents of Central European Countries
  Meeting | Bilateral Relations | Republic of Macedonia

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Bilateral Relations

Republic of Slovenia - Republic of Macedonia


Slovenia and Macedonia recognised each other's independence on 12 February 1992. Diplomatic relations were established on 17 March 1992. The two countries have developed friendly and positive relations.

Visits between the two countries have taken place at the highest levels. In March 2001 the foreign minister Dr Dimitrij Rupel made a working visit to Macedonia. He had meetings with his host, the then Macedonian foreign minister Srgjan Kerim, the Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski, and Arben Xhaferi, chairman of the Democratic Party of Albanians from the ruling coalition.

In April 2001 at Dr Kerim's invitation Dr Rupel participated in a multilateral meeting in Skopje on relations in Macedonia, organised on the initiative of the US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

In March 2002 Macedonian foreign minister Slobodan Casule made an official visit to Slovenia. During the same month Dr Rupel took part in a multilateral meeting in Skopje of the Vilnius group of NATO candidates.

Slovenia supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Macedonia, which it sees as a guarantee of peace and stability in the region. Slovenia supports Macedonia's confirmation and inclusion in international organisations and integration. Macedonia remains extremely interested in an exchange of experiences in integration with the European Union.

Economic cooperation between the two countries is very close and of great significance to both countries. Slovenia and Macedonia have signed the most important economic agreements, including the Free Trade Agreement, the Agreement on Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments, the Treaty on the Regulation of Reciprocal Property Law Relations and the Convention on the Avoidance of Double Taxation relating to Income and Property Tax.

Last year saw a continuation of the negative trend in trade between the two countries, largely due to the security situation and the consequent deterioration in the economic situation in Macedonia (the fall was over 20 percent). In 2001 Slovenian exports to Macedonia totalled USD 131.7 million, down 15.6% on 2000 while imports to Slovenia totalled just USD 26.5 million, a reduction of 44% from the 2000 figures.

The constant trade imbalance with Macedonia is being indirectly addressed by direct Slovenian investments. Over 70 Slovenian companies are present on the Macedonia market, where they have founded majority owned representatives and joint ventures.

Despite the political and economic difficulties, Slovenian investments in Macedonia rose for the fourth consecutive year. The significance of Macedonia to Slovenian foreign investments is demonstrated by the Bank of Slovenia statistics, according to which Macedonia was the third ranked recipient of foreign Slovenian investment with a total of USD 66.1 million invested by Slovenian companies in Macedonia (Bank of Slovenia data, 31 December 2000).

Slovenia and Macedonia cooperate well across a wide range of fields. The Protocol on Cooperation in the field of Health led to significant exchange of experiences, training of medical personnel and transfer of knowledge. The University Medical Centre Ljubljana and Maribor Hospital cooperate very closely with the State Hospital in Skopje (over a wide range of specialist fields in Slovenia). Cultural cooperation takes place within a special programme of cooperation in the field of culture, which is adopted every three years. Cooperation in the field of education is regulated by a protocol between the two relevant ministries. Cooperation in the field of science and technology takes place on the basis of an agreement on scientific and technological cooperation, which was signed in 1993. Cooperation is very positive, particularly within the two-year working programmes and two- and three-year joint projects. Scientific cooperation includes an exchange of students at the postgraduate level, which has raised considerable interest among Macedonian researchers and postgraduate students. Cooperation between the two countries in internal affairs is also very good. Contacts have been established between the administrations responsible for organisation and personnel and those responsible for information management and telecommunications. The criminal investigations services of both states cooperate with Interpol's Central Narcotics Bureau.

The Republic of Slovenia, in cooperation with the non-government organisation Slovenian Philanthropy and the City of Ljubljana, founded "Together" - Regional Centre for the Psychosocial Wellbeing of Children. Slovenia wants the centre to contribute to social wellbeing and improvements in the mental health of children affected by the armed conflicts in South Eastern Europe. At the beginning of December 2001, in Tetovo, Macedonia, there was a seminar on "Psychosocial assistance to children affected by armed conflict" aimed at teachers, social workers and others who work with children in conflict areas.

The Ministry of the Economy has EUR 1.5 million set aside for its programmes in South Eastern Europe, of which 34.4 percent is allocated to Macedonia.

The assistance is provided within the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe projects ("Development of Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Entrepreneurship in Macedonia", the preparation of studies on concessions for sewage treatment plant construction in Macedonia, a project to organise a stock exchange and other services in Macedonia, scholarships for postgraduate and specialist studies in Slovenia) and technical assistance (scholarships for Macedonian experts to go on an education and practical experience programme in Slovenian companies, additional postgraduate training in Slovenian research institutes, working visits by experts, a summer school organised by the Economics Faculty). Slovenia offered Macedonia assistance via the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF). An agreement on cooperation between the ITF and the Macedonian defence ministry was signed in September 2001. Macedonia is very interested in the ITF's activities as mine clearance is an essential condition for the return of displaced persons. Macedonia interests go beyond mine clearance and include education and equipping of Macedonian mine clearing teams and the rehabilitation of mine victims. Last autumn five demining teams worked in Macedonia (a total of 55 deminers). The first phase of demining ended in the middle of December 2001, with the second phases starting in March 2002. Between 17 October and 16 December 2001, 1,728,678m2 of land was cleared of mines, 879 houses were checked and 1394 other buildings. A total of 153 UXOs (unexploded ordinance) were destroyed.


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