SKOPJE, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Macedonia celebrated Friday its 26th anniversary of independence, marked through several activities and events.
On this occasion, Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov called Friday for unity among Macedonian people as the only way to guarantee the prosperity of the country and achievement of its major goals such as NATO and European Union (EU) integration.
Meanwhile, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said Friday at a celebration in front of the government building in honor of Sept. 8, Independence Day, that all parties in Macedonia should work together in order to build and develop the country.
"When we are fully free, we are before the highest responsibility regarding what to choose. I call each and every one of you on responsibility and for strong support for the democratic processes in the interest of the Euro-Atlantic future of the Republic of Macedonia," Zaev addressed country's political class.
Back to Sept. 8 of 1991, a referendum was held in Macedonia, at that time part of the former Yugoslav Federation, which showed that over 72 percent of the people had voted in favor of the independence.
The referendum was preceded by the Declaration of Independence, which was voted by first pluralist parliament in January 1991 while Macedonia had its new constitution voted on Nov. 17, 1991.
Macedonia is a country aspiring to join NATO and European Union.
Although it had delivered all the criteria to become a NATO member, in the 2008 Summit of Bucharest, Macedonia only received a conditional invitation because Greece vetoed the accession as a result of the name contest which still remains a pending issue.
In terms of EU integration, Macedonia was granted the status of the EU associate member in 2005 while in 2015 it received a recommendation by the European Commission to start accession talks.