* Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on 2 March 1995. The first Macedonian ambassador to Estonia Tihomir Ilievski, residing in Stockholm, presented his credentials on 21 September 1995. In 2007 Macedonia officially opened a diplomatic representation in Tallinn, which became an embassy in 2010. The Macedonian ambassador to Estonia is Sašo Veljanovski, who presented credentials to President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on 15 February 2013, left from Estonia in January 2017. At the moment Macedonia is represented in Estonia by the charge d'affaires. The first Estonian ambassador to Macedonia was Aivo Orav, who resided in Ankara, Turkey, followed by Art Hilpus who resided in Tallinn. Estonia’s current ambassador to Macedonia, residing in Tallinn, is Daniel Erik Schaer, who presented his credentials to the Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov on 20 January 2016.
The Estonia honorary consul to Macedonia is Saško Miladinov. The Estonian Honorary Consulate in the town of Štip was formally opened during Foreign Minister Urmas Paet’s visit on 19 November 2008. Macedonia’s honorary consul in Estonia is Peter Roose. The Macedonian Honorary Consulate, situated in Tartu, was opened during the visit of Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki in February 2012.
|October 2012||Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts, accompanied by a business delegation|
|June 2012||Minister of Culture Rein Lang|
|October 2009||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves|
|November 2008||Foreign Minister Urmas Paet|
|March 2008||Prime Minister Andrus Ansip|
|March 2015||Minister of Information Society and Administration Ivo Ivanovski, accompanied by a business delegation|
|February 2014||Minister of Work and Social Affaires Dime Spasov|
|June 2013||Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski|
|February 2012||Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki|
|November 2011||Minister of Culture Elizabeta Kancheska-Milevska|
|October 2010||President Gjorge Ivanov, Minister of Information Society Ivo Ivanovski|
|April 2010||Minister Antonio Milošoski attended the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Tallinn|
|March 2009||Foreign Minister Antonio Milošoski|
|October 2008||Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Ivica Bocevski|
|April 2008||Minister of Investments Gligor Tashkovich|
|February 2008||Minister of Information Society Ivo Ivanovski|
Furthermore, on November 26th 2013, Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski met bilaterally in Bucharest during the summit between China and Central and Eastern European countries. In December 2014 Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Keit-Pentus Rosimannus and Macedonian Foreign Minister met in Basel in the margins of OSCE Ministerial Council. Prime ministers Nikola Gruevski and Taavi Rõivas met in November 2015 in Beijing in the margins of the meeting of China and Central and Eastern European countries. Estonian Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand and Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki met in Munich Security Conference in February 2016. The next Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser also met his counerpart Poposki a year late at the same conference. In July 2016 in the margins of NATO Summit in Warsaw the Minister of Defence of Estonia Hannes Hanso met his counterpart Zoran Jolevski. Regular political consultations have taken place between the foreign ministries of the two countries. Many departmental and training visits have also taken place.
An Estonia-Macedonia parliamentary group has been formed in the XIII Riigikogu, the chairman of the group is Eerik-Niiles Kross. In the XII Riigikogu an Estonia-Macedonia parliamentary group was also formed, chaired by Margus Hanson. The Estonian friendship group created in the Macedonian Parliament at the beginning of 2007 has been chaired by Liljana Popovska until the last elections in Macedonia in December 2016.
The members of the Estonia-Macedonia parliamentary group visited Macedonia from 3-6 October 2007. Meetings were primarily held with Macedonian Parliament members and officials, as well as with the foreign ministry secretary general and the minister for IT matters. A delegation of the Riigikogu’s European Union affairs committee visited Macedonia in May of 2013, where in addition to their colleagues in Parliament they also met with Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki and Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Fatmir Besim.
The following agreements have been concluded between Estonia and Macedonia:
- Agreement on International Road Transport of Passengers and Goods between the Republic of Estonia and the Republic of Macedonia, signed 30.05.2000 (came info effect 22 August 2000)
- Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Tax Evasion (signed 20 November 2008, came into effect 21 May 2009)
- Agreement on the Exchange and Mutual Protection of Classified Information (signed 20 November 2008, came into effect 1 June 2009)
- Implementation Protocol between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Republic of Macedonia on the Readmission on Illegally Residing Individuals Agreement between the European Community and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (signed 23 April 2010, came into effect 23 July 2010)
Economic relations between Estonia and Macedonia are modest, but have seen growth over the past few years.
In 2016 Macedonia was Estonia’s 88th partner in volume of trade (in 2015 120th). Primary articles of export from Estonia to Macedonia in 2016 were machinery and equipment (56,5%), mineral products (14,6%), and animal products (8,6%). In 2015 the main export articles were foodstuffs, mineral products, machines and electronics.
Main imports in 2016 were machinery and equipment (65,6%), vegetable products (22,1%), and miscellaneous manufactured articles (8,2%). In 2015 main imports were foodstuffs (vegetables and fruits), electronical devices and components, and furniture.
In order to develop economic co-operation, Minister for Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts visited Macedonia at the beginning of October 2012 along with a business delegation. A Macedonia-Estonia business forum was organised in order to help create connections between businesses in both countries. In addition, a business forum was held in Tallinn during the June 2013 visit of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in order to introduce investment opportunities in Macedonia. In March 2015 a delegation of Macedonian businessmen visited Tallinn together with the Minister of Information Society Ivo Ivanovski. A business forum took place in the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Estonian-Macedonian trade 2009-2016 (in thousands of euros)
All economic figures originate from the Statistics Estonia
Defence co-operation between Estonia and Macedonia began in 2004 and has been fairly regular.
Many Macedonian soldiers have studied in Estonia. From 2004-2007, Estonia sponsored the studies of three Macedonian soldiers at the Baltic Defence College. During the 2007-2008 academic year, a representative of Macedonia took part in the Joint Command and General Staff Course and in 2009 in the Army Intermediate Command and Staff Course.
- Estonia took part in the EU’s military mission Concordia from 31.03.2003 – 15.12.2003 with one staff officer.
- Estonia took part in the EU Police Mission Proxima from 15.12.2003 - 14.12.2005 with 1 staff officer.
Over the years Estonia has supported Macedonia in implementing many projects. These have primarily been geared towards developing Macedonia’s e-government.
Some projects that have taken place over the years:
- From 11-16.05.2008, the e-Governance Academy organised a training course in Tallinn for Macedonian state officials on the usage of information technology and the division of labour among the Estonian Land Board and the other establishments in its jurisdiction.
- From 2-3.06.2008 an expert of the Estonian Land Board consulted for Macedonia on-site.
- From 19.-22.10.2008 a representative of AS Cybernetica visited Macedonia and consulted with IT Minister Ivo Ivanovski on X-Road matters.
- From May-October 2010 a project was carried out in Macedonia to share Estonia’s experiences with establishing an electronic identity system.
- Estonia has provided scholarships for diplomats from Macedonia to attend the Estonian School of Diplomacy. Most recently a Macedonian student attended the school during the 2013/2014 academic year.
- In April 2012 a group from Macedonia came to Estonia for a study trip, which was funded by resources from the European Union TAIEX programme. During the trip, Estonia shared its experiences with implementing international sanctions.
- During 2014-2015, in the framework of development cooperation, Estonia supported a project to develop the telephone based medical counselling for the inhabitants of Macedonia.
- In October 2014 a study visit of three journalists from Macedonia to Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School took place, financed by the Estonian development cooperation budget.
- In March 2015 the Macedonian business delegation visited Tallinn and participated in business forum in the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which was also financed by the Estonian development cooperation budget.
- In September and October 2015 the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Personnel Manager from the Ministry of Finance carried out a TAIEX project for Macedonia ´s civil servants about the labour market and work related legislation.
- Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board participates in Macedonia together with the Netherlands and Slovenia in a Twinning project in the area of agriculture and agricultural registers. The aim of the project is to further strengthen the AFSARD (Agency for Financial Support of Agriculture and Rural Development of Macedonia) and to help the Agency to prepare for the EU aid programming period 2014-2020.
- In May 2016 a TAIEX Study Visit on the Use of Digital Certificates for Public Services took place in Tallinn.
- On March 30, 2016 the Estonian Auditors' Association signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Council for Advancement and Oversight of Audit of the Republic of Macedonia (CAOARM) in Tallinn. The cooperation will involve staff of both institutions through exchange of information, know-how and skills, thus enhancing the institutional capacities.
- In 2016 an Estonian expert carried out training on statistics for Macedonian health sector officials, financed by WHO.
- An Estonian NGO "Eesti Abikeskused" implemented from January 2016 to March 2017 in Macedonia a project funded by the IPA programme „Increasing the supply of the qualified work-force among the labour market risk-groups in Macedonia".
On 16 June 2009, Estonian Ambassador to Macedonia Aivo Orav and Honorary Consul Saško Miladinov opened a photo exhibit about the Estonian island of Kihnu in Stip. During 2009 the exhibit was displayed in various locations around Macedonia. On 14 October President Toomas Hendrik Ilves opened the same exhibit in the capital Skopje.
At the beginning of 2010 the secretary general of the Macedonian Ministry of Culture visited Estonia and met with representatives of the Ministry of Culture and the Tallinn 2011 project.
In August 2011 Estonian archaeologists visited Macedonia at the invitation of the Stip Museum and became acquainted with excavations in the area.
From 4-5 November 2011 Macedonian Minister of Culture Elizabeta Kancheska-Milevska visited Estonia. On 4 November she met with Minister of Culture Rein Lang. During the events of the Macedonia Week organised within the framework of Tallinn Capital of Culture 2011, visitors were introduced to Macedonian handicrafts, embroidery, national garments, contemporary art, and folk dances and songs. Minister of Culture Lang paid a reciprocal visit to Macedonia in June 2012. During his visit he saw museums in Skopje, visited the town of Ohrid, and met with the minister of culture and the directors of cultural institutions.
Estonia and Macedonia have also co-operated in the area of librarianship in the past few years. For example, the late-19th century work by Slavonic scholar Gotthilf Leonhard Masing on the definition of Slavic languages was found from the Tartu Uinversity Library and digitalised. Thanks to the co-operation of the Macedonian representation in Estonia and Tartu University, the digital copies of the work were given to be stored at the Macedonian Academy of Sciences, the library of the state university, and the Macedonian Language Institute. Macedonia has acknowledged this act by giving the Tartu University library works on Macedonian language, history, and culture. Now one can also find Macedonian magazines on the shelves of Estonian libraries for the first time ever.
Macedonian films have been screened during the Black Nights Film Festival.
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