The outcome of the crisis is respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Macedonia and non-interference in its internal affairs.

He graduated from the economic faculty of the University "St. Cyril and St. Methodius" in the city of Skopje in 1981. The knowledge gained there, the specializations abroad, the diverse interests and the knowledge of several languages ​​helped him in his remarkable professional success in the years before he entered diplomacy. H. E. Mr. Maryan Gjorcev has been connected to economy for 18 years: manager and owner of "Agro-Universal" company in Skopje, banker at Commercial Bank - Skopje, director general of the dairy AD - Skopje and General Director of JSC Brotherhood - Skopje. For some time he was general director of the Macedonian Agency for privatization. From 1999 to 2002, he was Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water of the Republic of Macedonia. From 2002 to 2006 he was a deputy in the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia. 

E. Mr. Maryan Gjorcev is a man of wide horizons. From 2008 to now he is a chairman of PanEuropa Macedonia. He was twice elected for Mayor of Kisela Voda in Skopje. An avid chess player, from 1998 to 2007 he was the president of the Chess Federation of the Republic of Macedonia. He has published three books: poetic collection of poems called "Mind" /1993/, the collection of essays "Human Dementia" /2004/ and the poem "If Macedonia still exists somewhere" /2010/.

From May 2016 he was accredited Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of Macedonia in Bulgaria. The embassy in Sofia however is a headquarter for working with many countries: Argentina, Afghanistan, Belgium, Brazil, Venezuela, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iraq, the Democratic People's Republic and the Republic of Korea, Cuba, Morocco, Moldova.

- Your Excellency, Bulgaria has always been intrigued by the events in Macedonia, it is also intrigued now. Is there a way out of the political crisis at this moment?

- Every crisis has its solution. The one in Macedonia at the moment is not only our internal crisis, it is the result of some larger geopolitical and geostrategic clashes that occur in the world and therefore have an impact in our country. All this is happening in the US, Turkey, in Europe after the Brexit, in Ukraine, with the migrant waves having an impact on our country and our neighbors. Especially after the elections in our country, which had to serve as solution towards a political case, to open active political dialogue, to form a new government and mark the beginning of a long period of stability and peace. That did not happen. Macedonia is highly sensitive to the multiethnic, multicultural and multi-religious coexistence. You know that we are a country where the shares of the peoples who have their own national state, but live as a minority in Macedonia are constitutionally recognized. Such a multiethnic environment seeks high qualification of understanding in the political elites.

What happened after the election is the different look at the Ohrid framework agreement reached in 2001 between Macedonians as bearers of sovereignty and the Albanians as a large minority. This agreement is historic. It contained 18 constitutional amendments, which became part of our Constitution and contributed to the Albanians as a minority to be unique in terms of individual human rights. It gives them the right to use their language in the National Assembly of Macedonia /we have direct audiovisual translation/, they have the right to use it equally with the Macedonian language in 16 municipalities, including Skopje; in municipalities where their population is over 20%, they have the right to use their flag. In these municipalities even the road signs are in three languages: Macedonian, Albanian and English. In passports and identity documents the names of Albanians are in Macedonian and Albanian. So the Ohrid Agreement for me is unique. I was personally involved in the negotiations and I know that this agreement had to solve the multiethnic co-living in Macedonia for the next decades. It concerns not only Albanians but all other minorities as well. Now the problem will have a difficult resolution because it involves only Macedonians and Albanians. The Macedonian people are the sovereign of the Macedonian state. The Albanians are still a minority in both population and number. Therefore, the party that will have to form a government in the country has to now concentrate on the development of the civil state and the individual human rights and freedoms of the Macedonian citizens. Not the collective. The affirmation of the collective rights of the Albanian minority is contrary to the European values. Macedonia must respect the European values, which clearly define how a European country shall be built. Nothing more. This is the outcome of the crisis.

- Where did the tension come from?

- The tensions in all Balkan countries are a product of global changes in the world politics. The expansion of the global human rights and civil liberties, born from the idea of a global world without borders, global world, without national sovereignty, where the world is an open society (Brzezinski's theory) is in crisis. There are demonstrations of conservative concepts that re-affirm the national sovereignty. This clash between two opposing concepts often creates tension in countries around the world. This is happening around us. There are two countries where the Albanian people are a carrier of state sovereignty - Albania and Kosovo, we have an Albanian minority in Macedonia, and in these changes, they seek their place. From a Macedonian point of view, this is interference in the internal affairs of Macedonia, from an Albanian point of view - it is a fight for human rights and freedoms. And this is the intersection of the crisis. Macedonians have only one country and want to keep it. Albanians believe they are entitled to even greater rights and freedoms. There is no other way out for Macedonia than the preservation of the sovereignty, integrity and territorial integrity. It must be recognized that the Macedonian nation is sovereign of this country and all other minorities are equal. This is Macedonia, a unique concept. And the defined in the Ohrid Framework Agreement provides truly greater rights for minorities, as in no other European country.

- And now, where to?

- There is always more than one scenario. It there is a problem, there is a solution. The president said he could give a mandate to those parties who want it without preconditions, without the "platforms" that relate to the multiethnic life and are inconsistent with the Macedonian Constitution. Then a government can be formed and this is one way. Another is to repeat the  elections and achieve respect for the European standards after them. A third way out can be a wide public debate to discuss how to make a broad coalition to overcome the crisis with the participation of  not only the political parties but also the civil society and experts .

Surely there are other options. I believe in the capacity of the Macedonian institutions and hope that they would find a solution to the crisis.

But no matter which party or parties will enter into our future government and when this will be done, the course of Macedonia's membership in EU and NATO is strongly determined by the enormous trust of the citizens in this political orientation (the last public survey in April 2016 has demonstrated that over 70% of the Macedonian citizens are willing to join the EU and NATO). The economic situation is stable. Unemployment has decreased. Our country is sought destination for foreign investment. Relations with neighbors are in constant progress.

- What does the new situation in Macedonia mean for the Bulgarian-Macedonian relations?

- After 1991, the relations between Macedonia and Bulgaria marked continuous improvement. Macedonians will never forget that Bulgaria first recognized the independence of the Macedonian state. Furthermore, the Treaty of 1999 (which solved the so-called "Linguistic Dispute") gave the opportunity for 55 international agreements to be signed for cooperation in all spheres of social, political and economic life. Even more important is the variety of initiatives of the Macedonian and Bulgarian citizens for friendship and cooperation. These relations between our citizens are based on mutual respect and trust. In this modern world, everything can be bought with money?! Yes, but the respect and trust cannot be bought but only acquired; with sincerity and honesty in the mutual relations. All previous governments have approached politically this natural act of building good neighborly relations, but the path to that is traced primarily by the citizens of both countries.

- How will the politicians in Skopje look at the position of the President Gjorge Ivanov to sign the long-awaited neighborhood agreement with Bulgaria?

- The treaty of friendship and good-neighborliness is of particular importance to our country because by signing it we prove that we have good neighborly relations with the Republic of Bulgaria as an EU Member State. The representatives of the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs fulfilled their task in a technically impeccable way. What remains is to show political will and officially sign this contract. It is a formulation of certain questions for which there is a general agreement but political wisdom is also needed for its approval by both parliaments. I hope that very soon the need for this agreement for both countries will prevail, and that means it will be  signed in 2017.

- Some joint projects, such as the rail link between the two countries have been on hold for years. Will they move ahead?

- In our country, Corridor 8 is of great importance. With its construction, Macedonia receives strategic dimension on the Balkan crossroads. Hence, in the part of providing financial resources for the construction of the railway and road infrastructure from Kumanovo to the border, the Republic of Macedonia took over half a billion euro loan funds from the European Central Bank and the World Bank. The technical documentation is ready. Only its implementation remains. At the discretion of Macedonia, the railway should be ready in 2024 and the road infrastructure by 2020. It should be noted that Macedonia invests in proportion road infrastructure towards Albania. Currently, the Kicevo - Ohrid sector is getting finished, which means that the plans for a comprehensive corridor connecting the Black Sea with the Ionian Sea are now a reality.

- We are leading in the EU in fund absorption for cross-border cooperation...

- Yes. For the period 2007-2013, 99% of the EU funds for cross-border cooperation were utilized. This is 20 million euro. There were over 80 projects between the Macedonian and Bulgarian municipalities for local roads, kindergartens, libraries, energy efficiency, parks, sports, development of cultural cooperation. Now, for the new period 2013-2020, we are successful again. Just within two years nearly half of the funds have been absorbed - over 10 million euro. More than 30 projects have been approved. This shows the dynamic development of the relations between our people, the knowledge and know-how on the ways to use the EU funds for cross-border cooperation. The most active municipalities are in southwestern Bulgaria, and especially those in Kyustendil and Blagoevgrad.

- Bulgaria will take over the six-month rotating EU presidency in 2018. What can be done during this period to accelerate the Euro-Atlantic integration of Macedonia?

- Of course the presidency of Bulgaria to the EU is a great chance for Macedonia. That is why I emphasize the fact that the Neighbourhood contract must be signed in 2017 (and this is an important part of the chapters 23 and 24) so that we have a reason to ask for the support of Bulgaria for the negotiations for our full membership in the EU. Also, the new actions to build trust with Greece and their successful development is a major step forward in outlining the positive image of ​​Macedonia. The development of good neighborly relations with Albania and Kosovo, where the Albanians and our citizens can pass through the common border with ID cards should also be mentioned. We do not want to break these good relations. With Serbia we are also in good and friendly connections. It only remains what de facto exists as a reality to be helped by strong Bulgarian support and by the European de jure. Of course our reforms in justice and the application of law in our country will continue with the intended dynamics. It should be mentioned that our experience in 15 years of negotiations with the EU /from April 2001/ is indicative. Macedonia has, many times, passed all chapters of the aquis communautaire. We have experience and institutional capacity to realize in practice all the planned reforms. We only need European friends who know us well and who trust us. I hope that Bulgaria will be one of the strongest supporters.

- You were well acquainted with Bulgaria, before taking the ambassadorial post in Sofia. How do you feel here among Bulgarians?

- For many years I have been cooperating with the Republic of Bulgaria in all areas. As a person of the economy, as a minister, as chairman of the Macedonian-Bulgarian friendship group in our Parliament, as a chess figure, as a member of the Pan-European Union and foremost as a Macedonian citizen who has many friends in Bulgaria.

How do I feel? As among people whose language, culture, poetry, music, sports, politics I know well and I respect. As I already said, trust and respect cannot be bought with money. They are acquired. I believe I have earned that trust and honor from the Bulgarian citizens and they have earned the same from me. Now this needs to be upgraded. With sincere and honest attitude. With a name and honor. For me these are the most important values ​​in a person's life.

The material is provided by the"Standard" newspaper - and updated by "Diplomatic Spectrum".

Photo: "Diplomatic Spectrum"