France and Macedonia

France and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Political relations

France opened a general delegation in Skopje in March 1993 and officially recognized the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on 27 December 1993. An ambassador was appointed to the FYROM on 31 March 1994. France has provided sustained support to the FYROM since its independence and played an important role in the 2001 crisis. France was therefore closely involved in the negotiation process for the Ohrid Framework Agreement, which put an end to the conflict, with two European Union special representatives, Mr François Léotard then Mr Alain Le Roy. The Constitutional reform was led by Mr Robert Badinter. France confirmed their commitment to the FYROM as a framework nation of the EU’s military operation, Concordia, with over 40% French representation and under French command for six months, then as a greater contributor of the EU police mission, Proxima, which succeeded it.

Political bilateral relationships between France and the FYROM are good and regular. France supports the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in its desire to move closer to the European Union.

Meetings and visits

  • Mr Fatmir Besimi, Deputy Prime Minister responsible for European Affairs, was received at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 27 May 2015 during his visit to Paris.
  • The Macedonian Prime Minister, Mr Nikola Gruevski, visited Paris from 25 to 27 June 2015 to participate as guest of honour at the business forum organised by the Embassy of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in Paris. He met upon this occasion with the Senator Alain Richard, a special envoy for economic diplomacy in the Balkans.
  • The Macedonian Minister for Investments, Mr Goran Mickovski, participated in the economic workshop on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia organised by Business France on 19 February 2016 in Paris.
  • On 24 May 2016, the Macedonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Nikola Poposki, had a meeting with Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault alongside the ministerial meeting (Foreign Affairs) in Paris dedicated to preparing the 2016 Paris-Balkans summit.
  • On 13 June 2016, the Macedonian Defence Minister Mr Zoran Jolevski, met with his counterpart, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian.
  • On 27 September 2016, the Deputy Prime Minister responsible for European Affairs, Mr Arbër Ademi,met in Paris with the Minister of State for European Affairs, Mr Harlem Désir.
  • On 12 July 2017, the Macedonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Nikola Dimitrov, met with the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, alongside the Western Balkans summit held in Trieste.
  • As regards French ministerial visits, the Minister of State for Veterans and Remembrance, Mr Jean-Marc Todeschini, visited the FYROM on 11 and 12 March 2015 during visits to the Eastern Front. He laid the first stone of the museum site in Bitola, a town where numerous French soldiers fell during the First World War and are now buried.
  • The Minister of State for European Affairs, Mr Harlem Désir, visited the FYROM on 2 September 2015. He met with, among others, the President of the FYROM, Mr Gjorge Ivanov, the Macedonian Prime Minister, Mr Nikola Gruevski, the Macedonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Nikola Poposki and the leader of the opposition Mr Zoran Zaev. He also visited the healthcare centre on the northern border with Serbia for migrants run by the Macedonian Red Cross and the High Commission for Refugees.

For more information, visit: https://mk.ambafrance.org/-Historique-

Economic relations

Since 2012, trade between France the FYROM continue to increase with a trade surplus for France. Trade does, however, remain limited. French exports to the FYROM were €71 million in 2016 and French imports were €52 million. The FYROM imports transport equipment and other equipment which account for over 60% of French exports to the FYROM in 2016. France mainly imports textile products, clothing, leather and shoes. Some 595 French businesses exported to the Macedonian market in 2016, composed of 231 medium-sized companies and 72 large companies.

For more information, visit:
http://www.tresor.economie.gouv.fr/Pays/macedoine

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Our bilateral cooperation is framed by the Cultural, Scientific and Technical Cooperation Agreement signed between France and the FYROM on 29 January 1998. The agreement focuses on three priorities: strengthening the rule of law and support for good governance, training of elites and support for French language and culture, with the aim of supporting the FRYM in moving closer to the European Union.

Cultural and linguistic action is based on the Institut Français in Skopje (inaugurated in 1974, this Institut Français is the oldest foreign cultural institution still operating) and two Alliance Française branches in Bitola and Tetovo.

For more information, visit:

Other cooperation

Three French towns are twinned with towns in the FYROM: Epinal with Bitola (1968), Dijon with Skopje (1961) and Roubaix with Skopje (1973).

The French International School of Skopje (EFIS) teaches some 60 children from the FYROM, France, and third countries, from nursery to middle school.

An important decentralised cooperation programme was implemented in the Basse-Normandie region and has enabled some eleven direct twinning programmes and action in many spheres including tourism, heritage and technical cooperation to be developed. Significant work on the history of the Eastern Front was also launched as part of the decentralized cooperation, enabling homage to be paid in the period 2015-2018 to the 70,000 soldiers that died for France on the current territory of the FYROM. This work aims to create touring exhibitions and projects to promote remembrance tourism with the creation of a museum space in Bitola.

For more information, visit:
https://mk.ambafrance.org/-Cooperation-decentralisee-

Updated: 01.08.17

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