12 points from Macedonia go to Finland

Makedonian Demarinuorten puheenjohtaja Stefan Bogoevin mietteitä Suomesta ja Makedoniasta opintovierailun jälkeen.

There is a word in Macedonian language called ”fin.” It means being polite and kind person. In English language, the word ”finn” means a Finnish citizen. The Macedonian and the English words combined give a very realistic meaning of the Finnish people. Kind, polite and friendly. These three words also can best describe the visit of the Social Democratic Youth of Macedonia in Finland, hosted by our Finnish comrades from the Social Democratic Youth of Finland. All of this, organized by Kalevi Sorsa Foundation and Progres Institute for Social Democracy.

It all started one sunny and not that cold Monday in Helsinki when eleven Macedonians arrived. Having in mind that we came from a small and developing country in a middle of political crisis to a country which has an advanced economy and a developed welfare state, we came with high expectations. I must admit, the expectations were completely fulfilled.

In order our readers to have a clearer picture of Macedonia I would like to say some things. Macedonia is a small but beautiful country on the Balkan peninsula. It has many mountains but also many valleys and three natural lakes. Our country has its roots centuries and centuries ago, but it gained its full independence in 1991 after leaving Yugoslavia. Since then, Macedonia had its rises and falls but it was still slowly, but going, on its European way of prosperity up until 2006. Since then, the right wing government has been driving Macedonia day to day further and further away from EU integration. Therefore, we have a situation now in which ”Oasis of peace” and ”Leader in the region” has become a country, which is struggling for respect of human rights, freedom and democracy. Nevertheless, the corrupted Macedonian government, which wiretapped its citizens is now facing serious democratic resistance from the opposition and the people and hopefully with a little help from our European friends, Macedonia will again be what it used to be – a leader in the region.

However, enough of Macedonia, let’s return to Finland. Although from different parts of the world, different cultures, languages, habits and mentality we, social democrats, share the same values throughout the world. We speak the same language of social democracy and that is the reason why we always spend some good time together. In Helsinki, first of all, after visiting the beautiful scenes of the city we went to the Parliament. Day after the elections, everyone was tired but still the hospitality was at its best. Perhaps one of the reasons for the cheerful attitude of our comrades was the fact that in this newly elected parliament, four young social democrats became part of it. We shared our ideas and experiences with our friends from the Social Democratic Youth and with the Finnish MP Johannes Koskinen. From the visit to the Parliament, SDP headquarters, The Central Bank of Finland, trade unions headquarters, National Youth council, YLE broadcasting service and from the meetings with Governor Erkki Liikanen, President of Social Democratic Youth Joona Räsänen, Director of Kalevi Sorsa Foundation Mikko Majander and with the party’s leadership we can conclude several things.

First of all, Finland is a stable democracy with clear division between the executive, judicial and legislative authorities, free media and fully functioning welfare state.

Second, the national broadcasting service (YLE) as in every EU country is fully independent from the political authorities and as objective and transparent as it can and should be.

Third, the Parliament is democratic, and the majority treats the opposition with respect, which is a clear example of democracy, paraphrasing MP Koskinen. The government is democratic and transparent and is working solely for the wellbeing of the Finnish citizens.

On the other hand, unfortunately, none of the above mentioned conclusions are the case in Macedonia. However, we have a very strong opposition now, very motivated and brave young people, students, which all together with the help of the international community can surely bring back democracy, human rights, freedom and prosperity in Macedonia, and the country back to its European perspective.

To sum up, the visit to Finland and all the Finnish institutions was a unique experience and unforgettable trip. We made many new friendships and also learned how a developed country should look like. I would like hereby to thank everyone who were part of the study visit, especially our comrades from Social Democratic Party and Youth, and our friends from Kalevi Sorsa Foundation. We are definitely returning to Finland someday, and we can’t wait to see our comrades here in Macedonia in September.

With the words from the most popular European music contest, twelve points from Macedonia go to Finland 🙂

Stefan Bogoev, President of the Social Democrat Youth of Macedonia, elected in October 2013, currently elected Member of the Parliament and together with all MP’s from SDUM is boycotting the Parliament work. He is born 1989 in Skopje.

Photo: Macedonian delegation at the Parliament with MP Johannes Koskinen. Stefan Bogoev is on the front left.

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