President d-r Gjorge Ivanov gives his inaugural address to the Parliament

Distinguished former Presidents of the Republic of Macedonia
Mr. Kiro Gligorov and Mr. Branko Crvenkovski,
Distinguished President of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia,
Distinguished President of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia,
Distinguished Members of the Government and Members of the Assembly,
Honorable guests,
Dear Citizens of the Republic of Macedonia,

I am distinctly honored to address you as the President of the Republic of Macedonia. Today, standing before the flag of free and democratic Macedonia, standing before all of you and before the Macedonian citizens I am assuming the most responsible duty with which a Macedonian citizen can be entrusted.
Allow me to share with you my feelings of gratitude for the bestowed trust, sharing as well the sense of the great challenges lying ahead of us, duty bound by the grand ideals and deeds of all our ancestors, and by the untiring dedication to the future of our successors.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The office of President of the Republic of Macedonia for me is first and foremost responsibility. Responsibility I am assuming before the citizens of Macedonia, taking a solemn oath that I will do my outmost and invest all of my capacity and credibility in the wellbeing of our country and citizens.
This impressive responsibility does not recognize political options, ethnic or religious, cultural or local differences. The President of the Republic of Macedonia is the voice of each and every Macedonian citizen. The President is and will remain the voice of democracy, unity and patriotism.
The President of the Republic of Macedonia must remain defender of the ideals of humanity and of the resolute faith in human rights and freedoms. Many heroes – those of Enlighteners, of the Ilinden insurgents, of the ASNOM fathers of our nation and the first President, the great democrat and patriot Metodija Andonov, Cento gave their lives and deeds for these ideals.
Therefore, freedom, humanism and human rights are an intrinsic part of the national code of Macedonia and of Macedonian citizens. These endeavors and ideals unite all those living in and for Macedonia and those sacrificing their lives for Macedonia’s freedom.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
For 18 years, the Republic of Macedonia has been living its dream of free, independent and democratic state. A dream of history and a reality of our present in which the ancient and rich Macedonian culture presented itself as a young, but vital and strong state at the political map of modern Europe.
A state that has stood tall before weighty challenges, a state that has brought to reality the centuries old dream of Macedonians, once again definitely reaffirming our ethnic-national, cultural and linguistic identity. Macedonia has been and remains the defender and guardian of history, traditions and ideals and of the sovereign will of the Macedonian nation.
Moreover, the Republic of Macedonia raised itself to a bright example of open and multicultural society. Macedonia has courageously faced the challenges of the Balkan past, creating its own functional model, which unites the citizens and ensures a common and prosperous future.
The Republic of Macedonia has remained faithful to its noble traditions. Traditions and values shared by all Macedonian citizens- Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, Vlachs, Roma, Serbs, and Bosniaks. These traditions of togetherness, mutual respect and respect for the rights and freedoms of the others make the foundations of all documents on the Macedonian statehood - the Krushevo Manifesto, the ASNOM Declaration of Human Rights, and then the civic and democratic character of independent Republic of Macedonia and the Ohrid Agreement or our Constitution.
Hence, the unity and vitality of the Macedonian society do not rely on the rule of the stronger or of those exceeding in number, relying instead on the participation of all communities and of all citizens in the functioning of the state and in the development of the society.
The challenge rising before us is that we persist in advancing this heritage by creating shared values and energy that will make us stronger. Therefore, as the President of the Republic of Macedonia by my own words and deeds I will spare no efforts in building the trust and friendship among all citizens. Furthermore, I will encourage and support all political leaders, but also intellectuals, businesspersons and all citizens to approach with the outmost care and responsibility our greatest national value - good relations among communities and citizens.
Another great challenge rises before us, a challenge that will most compellingly and clearly evidence our historic wisdom, our national commitments and our place in the world. This challenge is called European Macedonia.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My political agenda is clear and unequivocal - Macedonia member of NATO and of the European Union, Macedonia strong, respected and equal, with proud, prosperous and happy citizens. In attaining these goals the Republic of Macedonia continues to thread resolutely   the way towards its Euro-Atlantic integration, pursuing a responsible internal and foreign policy, with dedication and attachment to the highest standards.
Macedonia is a reliable friend and an ally, and therefore has true friends and allies. The United States of America, the European Union member-states, Turkey,  but also Russia, China, India and many other countries with which we are tied by sincere friendship. We will further work to even more strengthen and deepen the mutual trust and friendship, especially in the areas of economy and culture.
The Euro-Atlantic membership and alliance are not only of declarative meaning for Macedonia. The alliance has been truly and often times confirmed in the peace missions of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia. Missions in which, shoulder to shoulder with the allies, our peace troops demonstrate the highest army values and affirm the dedication to peace and democracy worldwide. They are receiving clear recognition of their valor and humanness, of which our country is indeed proud. On this occasion, as the President and Supreme Commander, I would like to pay my personal tribute to all they have done and are still doing under the flag of the Republic of Macedonia in defense of the values of the free world.
Another facet of the Macedonian foreign policy that builds upon the values and ideals of our citizens is the good-neighborly policy and the contribution of the Republic of Macedonia to the stability and prosperity of the Region.
Our country is determinedly striding on the road of regional cooperation founded on equality, seeing in all its neighbors friends and partners with which we share the same values and common goals.
Perhaps from the outside Macedonia might seem a small country. Yet, our country is great in its import for it is the heart of the Balkans, where all differences meet and reconcile. The Republic of Macedonia is the link that unites the worlds and should be the crucial point to effect not only in the Balkan, but also in the European setting reconciliation of the East and of the West, of Christianity and of Islam, of all diverse cultures that enrich the Balkans and Europe.   
Without attaching lesser importance to the relations with all our neighbors, I should like to emphasize that I will devote special attention to the relations with the Hellenic Republic, with which we have always been and will always be neighbors. I will do my best in order that the relations between the two countries are developed in the spirit of good-neighborliness and mutual trust. We evidently share common European values, we have the same European dream and we understand the Balkans as the cradle of European culture.
Even more, I am strongly confident that some of the issues burdening the relations between the two neighboring countries, and culture and tradition especially, carry at the same time the capacity of building bridges of cooperation and of promoting a new cycle of prosperity in the Region.
Finally, as the President of the Republic of Macedonia, of all its citizens, I am obliged to remind us all and underscore the following: despite all efforts in our foreign policy, we must always remember that respect from abroad is most easily earned at home. We could pursue and accomplish neither our European future nor regional cooperation if we do not invest in the capacities, institutions and potentials of our country.
Therefore, we hold the duty of remaining on the course of reforms and of building a modern, sound, strong, competitive and prosperous society. The foundations to rely on in this context are functional market economy and democracy. We are building and we must continue developing functional market economy through serious and strategic investments in education and science, development and application of advanced technologies and the competitive and entrepreneurial spirit of the young generations. Democracy on its part is of great and substantive importance for our prosperity. We must vigilantly and watchfully safeguard democracy. Democracy is hard to gain and easy to lose, while it is exactly the principles of democracy that guard human freedom and dignity.
Pursuing the presidential office, I will be strongly committed to and encourage the development of democracy, offering my support to all civic initiatives that bring our state closer to its essence - the interest of the Macedonian citizens. I will also be strongly committed to the accomplishment and respect for the cultural, educational, religious and other rights of the Macedonian citizens.
In addition, through rule of law and support to anti-corruption measures we must all contribute to the strengthening of the institutional capacity, which is the only mechanism of the state to defend the interests of citizens.
In the last 18 years, we have overcome many challenges of regional, internal, social, cultural and economic nature. Macedonia has demonstrated great institutional capacity, while citizens have shown wisdom, patience and courage on the journey towards the new and less known. This has helped preserve the internal stability of our fatherland and our repute in the world.
Even more, our intellectuals, artists and scientists repeatedly remind the world that we are not a small nation, but a nation of great spirit and noble ideals, while the Macedonian Diaspora helps the Macedonian citizens befriend all, making thus the world closer to Macedonia.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to take this opportunity to underline that before me, the honor and responsibility of holding the office of President of the Republic of Macedonia was also entrusted to President Kiro Gligorov, President Boris Trajkovski and President Branko Crvenkovski. Taking up my office, I would like to thank them wholeheartedly for all their efforts, accomplishments and leadership.
Both as a professor and as a citizen, I have been convinced that it is the strong will of our nation that has guided us through all challenges. As the President, I am singularly honored to lead a nation of such moral and spiritual strength.
Today, as we are progressing towards our Euro-Atlantic future, supported by wide social and political consensus, there is no room for doubt in our success. On the contrary, all state institutions, the Government and the opposition, the civil sector and the scientific circles, and the entire Macedonian society must be even more actively involved in this social endeavor.
Macedonian with all its diversity, richness of cultures, political ideas, strong individuals and independent institutions is to word and send a single message to the world. The message of optimism and success.
As the President, I will cooperate with all institutions, with the Assembly, with the Government, with the municipalities, but also with our intellectuals, businesspersons and primarily with the young people in finding the relevant response to our national challenge. My greatest hopes lay with the young people. Educating themselves, professionally advancing, learning foreign languages and state of the art technologies, the young generations are ready to rise to the challenges of the new times.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am fully aware of the great challenges before us, of the reforms and transformations ahead of us in all fields. It is not my intention, nor do I need to close my eyes before the great obstacles on our way, such as the unsettled differences with our Sothern neighbor or the global economic crisis. Deep crises carry great poverty. We of all people know that poverty is the only burden that is the heavier the more people carry it. Therefore, we must do everything in our power to decrease the number of people carrying that burden.
I have great faith in the spirit of Macedonian citizens. I believe in my nation that never gives up. I trust my nation’s dedication, laboriousness and creativity. We have had multitude of challenges in these 18 years, and by each overcome challenge we have proven worthy of our freedom and of the freedom of our Macedonia. The Republic of Macedonia always follows the consistent logic Beethoven expressed - I know not of other forms of superiority, except for goodness.
My message is clear. I am the President equal for all citizens. I am one of you and I stand with you, rising together with you to all challenges. As the President, I will work with you every day for a proud and prosperous Republic of Macedonia. Strong state of Macedonia, promptly, fully and with dignity integrated in the world community of democratic nations.

Long live the Republic of Macedonia!