Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström visited Macedonia

10 Oct 2017

On October 9 2017, the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström visited Macedonia. It was a joint visit together with Finland's Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini. The Ministers had meetings with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Dimitrov. Wallström also met with representatives of civil society in Macedonia and gave a speech on Sweden's feminist foreign policy at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, focusing on women as active participants and agents of change in society.

In her meetings, Minister Wallström expressed Sweden’s firm support to Macedonia’s EU-integration process and the reform agenda, re-affirming the friendly relations with Macedonia: “My Finnish counterpart and I are here in Macedonia today as close friends. We are pleased not only with the sun you have welcomed us with, but also with your energy and decisiveness to secure a better society for all your citizens. Sweden will insist on keeping the enlargement process high on the EU agenda”.

Minister Wallström was a key-note speaker at the event “Woman’s Leadership and Political Participation – A Road to Equality” organized by UN Women Skopje office, the Embassy of Sweden and the Faculty of Law “Iustinianus Primus”. The event is part of the UN Women initiative “Not Only on the 8th March”, which was conceived to make a point that gender related issues should not be in the limelight only once a year, but should be publicly debated throughout the year, with the aim to advance gender equality. "When I look at you, I see the future of this country, the future decision makers...the most important persons of this country", said Wallström to the students. Speaking about the feminist foreign policy of Sweden, Wallström accentuated the importance of having women as active participants in decision-making processes in order to ensure peace and security.

 Sweden is the first country in the world to pursue a feminist foreign policy, aiming to ensure that women and men have the same power to shape society and their own lives. Ensuring that women and girls can enjoy their fundamental human rights is both an obligation within the framework of Sweden´s international commitments, and a prerequisite for reaching Sweden's broader foreign policy goals on peace, security and sustainable development. Throughout its foreign policy, Sweden's feminist government is applying a systematic gender perspective, especially focusing efforts on long-term and strategic measures, targeting structural gender inequality.

For her commitment to advancing gender equality through the feminist foreign policy lens and her work to strengthen women's rights, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström received the Agent of Change Award by UN Women in September 2017.

The Embassy of Sweden in Skopje was honoured to receive the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden Margot Wallström in Macedonia.