Metin Hakverdi, Member of the German Parliament (Bundestag), visited Macedonia on June 1st-3rd. FES took this opportunity for consultative meetings with local and state institutions as well as representatives from business associations. MdB Hakverdi is an expert on financial law and a member of several committees in the Bundestag including the ones on finance, budgeting and the European Union Affairs. With his constituency in the City of Hamburg, he knows many people in the Macedonian Diaspora and regularly visits the region.
The meeting with the Macedonian Finance Minister, Dragan Tevdovski was used to open several key topics, including progressive taxation and the benefits of having progressive taxation in a country such as Germany as well as useful best practice approaches. The positive efforts of Macedonia’s Government to assist both the foreign and the domestic investors in their investments in the Macedonian economy and its labor market were also discussed.
All of the reforms that the Macedonian Government has undertaken would be fruitless if there is no commitment to the rule of law – an important notion that was underlined in the meeting between the Member of the German Parliament, Metin Hakverdi and the Macedonian Prime Minister, Zoran Zaev. There is a strong belief that Macedonia’s place is within the European Union.
The discussions with Macedonian Parliament’s Committee for Finance and Budgeting pointed into possible joint initiatives between the respective committees in Germany and Macedonia. In the future return visits by the committees could be arranged between the two countries in order to deepen the cooperation.
Having representatives from key financial state institutions, local municipalities, as well as the associations of businesses (both from Macedonia and Germany) at the Business Reception organized by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Skopje Office, the Finance Ministry, and the City of Skopje showed that the economic cooperation between Macedonia and Germany is a top priority for the new Macedonian Government. The discussions of the high-level networking event were used to open new avenues of collaboration on all levels, for example also the prospect of building up a deeper cooperation between German and Macedonian cities.
The European Union remains high on Macedonia’s agenda on both governmental and civil society level. Same could be said for the support that Macedonia receives from the official German institutions, including the Bundestag. A discussion with representatives from numerous CSOs dealing with youth issues as well as the Agency for Youth and Sports, ensued with MdB Metin Hakverdi.
A strong diaspora and a domestic support for their efforts to “give back” to Macedonia with their expertise and resources is a must for building stronger ties within the European Union. With a large Macedonian diaspora from all ethnicities in MdB Metin Hakverdi’s hometown of Hamburg, Germany, the conversation with the Macedonian Minister for Diaspora, Edmond Ademi revolved about the possibilities of engaging the diaspora in joint forums where possibilities for cooperation could be discussed.
The first female mayor of Arachinovo is also the first ethnic Albanian local functionary elected directly from the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) as a political party that developed a program for a true social cohesion in the Macedonian society. The discussion with Mayor Milikie Halimi was mainly on the topics of local development, cohabitation, and developing new programs for building “one society for all”.