The Republic of Macedonia gained its independence in 1991, and since then Canada and Macedonia have enjoyed positive bilateral relations. Macedonia’s primary foreign policy goal is Euro-Atlantic integration. It is currently a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and in December 2005, Macedonia received formal candidate status from the European Union.
In September 2007, Canada decided to recognize Macedonia under its constitutional name, the Republic of Macedonia, but continues to respect established practices within the UN and other international bodies, where the term used to designate Macedonia is "The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," often abbreviated as “FYROM.”
Canada is represented in Macedonia by the Embassy of Canada in Belgrade, Serbia, but maintains a Consulate in Skopje, run by an Honorary Consul. Macedonia opened an Embassy in Ottawa in 1996.
Military and Defense Cooperation
Due to an ongoing dispute over the country’s official name, Canada supports the decision made by NATO Allies at the 2008 Bucharest Summit to extend ‘an invitation (for NATO membership) to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia…as soon as a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue has been reached.’
Macedonia is an active participant in NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme and currently provides troops to multilateral peacekeeping operations. The country currently contributes personnel to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Macedonia joined the Department of National Defense’s Military Training Co-operation Programme (MTCP) in 1998. MTCP is a program that provides military co-operation with troop and language training to develop and enhance bilateral defense relations.
Canadian Development Assistance
Working with both the government and civil society Canada has encouraged political and economic reform in Macedonia through supporting initiatives that promote human and minority rights, democratic development, good governance, respect for the rule of law, public sector capacity building, conflict prevention, peace-building, and security sector reform.
In 2009, the former Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) officially closed its office in the Western Balkans, disbursing $950,000 in funding during its final year of operations in the country (2007-2008). This year, the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) has become available to Macedonian civil society organizations.
High-Level Visits and Agreements
In 2009, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski made an official visit to Canada, meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and members of the Macedonian diaspora. In May 2010, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was presented with the Goce Delcev Award by the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) for his act of statesmanship in fully recognizing Macedonia.
Senate Speaker Kinsella visited Macedonia in September 2013 while on a tour of the region and met with Macedonian Prime Minister Gruevski and President of the Assembly of Macedonia Trajko Veljanoski. Speaker of the House of Commons, Andrew Scheer paid an official visit to Macedonia at the invitation of the Macedonian President of the Assembly in September 2014, and met with President Ivanov, Prime Minister Gruevski, and Foreign Minister Poposki.
Canada and Macedonia signed a Social Security Agreement in August 2009 and an Air Transportation Agreement in September 2013. Canada and Macedonia are currently in the process of finalizing a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA).
Trade and Investment
With a population of approximately 2 million, Macedonia presents a market of modest commercial opportunities. A number of Canadian companies and investors are looking for trade and investment opportunities in Macedonia in areas such as transportation, information and communication technology, agri-food, tourism, mining and environmental technologies, construction, as well as real estate.
Total merchandise trade between Canada and Macedonia increased slightly from $22.3 million in 2012 to $26.0 million in 2013. Canadian merchandise exports to Macedonia increased from $12.3 million in 2012 to $14.2 million in 2013. The main export category is meat (pork). Canadian merchandise imports from Macedonia grew from $10.0 million in 2012 to $11.8 million in 2013. The main import category is apparel.