With France, Germany has set itself the goal of strengthening stability in the Balkans. During a visit to Skopje in September 2018, Chancellor Angela Merkel said, "We intend to support your country on its road to further reforms that are necessary to become a member of the European Union."
One important step on the way was resolving the dispute over the name of the country.
In a deal brokered by the United Nations, the Balkan republic has officially been known as North Macedonia since 12 February 2019, ending a dispute with Greece over the name of the country that had been ongoing since 1991. The Greek government refused to accept the name that its northern neighbour had chosen, "Republic of Macedonia". In an interim agreement signed on 13 September 1995, the two countries agreed to UN-brokered negotiations over a mutually acceptable solution to the dispute over the name. Until it was officially renamed, the country was called the "former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia".
A view towards NATO and EU
North Macedonia continues to see its future aligned with the EU and NATO. In recent years, the country has undertaken ambitious reforms in its security sector and has made major progress in the field of the rule of law and democracy. The government has undertaken to continue to enthusiastically pursue the reforms it has initiated.
After obtaining the agreement of the 29 NATO states, North Macedonia will become the 30th member of the alliance no later than 2020. With a view to Europe, North Macedonia has also substantially improved its position in terms of moving closer to the EU.
In April, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev also attended the Western Balkans meeting hosted jointly by Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron at the Federal Chancellery.
The Republic of North Macedonia is a land-locked state in South-Eastern Europe. It was part of Yugoslavia, and proclaimed its independence in 1991. Some 2.1 million inhabitants live on an area of a good 25,700 square kilometres. About 700,000 of them live in Skopje, the capital. North Macedonia borders on Serbia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Greece and Albania.