Freedom, justice and solidarity are the basic principles underlying the work of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS). The KAS is a political foundation, closely associated with the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU). As co-founder of the CDU and the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Konrad Adenauer (1876-1967) united Christian-social, conservative and liberal traditions. His name is synonymous with the democratic reconstruction of Germany, the firm alignment of foreign policy with the trans-Atlantic community of values, the vision of a unified Europe and an orientation towards the social market economy. His intellectual heritage continues to serve both as our aim as well as our obligation today.
In our European and international cooperation efforts we work for people to be able to live self-determined lives in freedom and dignity. We make a contribution underpinned by values to helping Germany meet its growing responsibilities throughout the world.
We encourage people to lend a hand in shaping the future along these lines. With more than 70 offices abroad and projects in over 120 countries, we make a unique contribution to the promotion of democracy, the rule of law and a social market economy. To foster peace and freedom we encourage a continuous dialog at the national and international levels as well as the exchange between cultures and religions.
Human beings in their distinctive dignity and with their rights and responsibilities are at the heart of our work. We are guided by the conviction that human beings are the starting point in the effort to bring about social justice and democratic freedom while promoting sustainable economic activity. By bringing people together who embrace their responsibilities in society, we develop active networks in the political and economic spheres as well as in society itself. The guidance we provide on the basis of our political know-how and knowledge helps to shape the globalization process along more socially equitable, ecologically sustainable and economically efficient lines.
We cooperate with governmental institutions, political parties, civil society organizations and handpicked elites, building strong partnerships along the way. In particular we seek to intensify political cooperation in the area of development cooperation at the national and international levels on the foundations of our objectives and values. Together with our partners we make a contribution to the creation of an international order that enables every country to develop in freedom and under its own responsibility.
The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung opened its Skopje office on 1 July 2000, at a time when Macedonia was considered the model country in the Balkans. Macedonia was the only republic of former Yugoslavia to peacefully secede from Belgrade. Nevertheless, after its independence on 8 September 1991, the country nearly disappeared from the world’s focus during the period of violence in the neighbouring republics of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The first time for a wider Western public to become aware of Macedonia was in 1999, when the country housed about 300.000 refugees from neighbouring Kosovo, thus protecting them from violations of the Serbian police and military forces. As a sign of appreciation of the unparalleled support, in March 2001 the then prime minister Ljupcho Georgievski was the first prime minister of a former Yugoslav republic to sign a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union.
But later the same year, Macedonia itself was at the brink of a civil war, when the National Liberation Army of ethnic Albanians started to challenge the state authority with attacks on police stations, kidnappings and bomb attacks at an ever larger scale. With the help of intensive EU and NATO mediation, a framework agreement between the two conflict parties could be signed in Ohrid on 13 August 2001, preventing the conflict from escalating further.
Ever since, the Foundation’s work is primarily directed at promoting the dialogue between people of different ethnic origin and religious orientation. The main goal is to support the development of a civil society in which everyone’s interests are respected, in which the strongest member is considerate of the weakest and everybody understands that the state is the frame within which every individual can develop according to his/her possibilities. Since Macedonia applied for EU membership in early 2004, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Skopje also supports its approximation to the Euro-Atlantic structures with according projects. Macedonia was given candidate status on 17 December 2005.
To enable the country to obtain a date for EU accession negotiations and the fact that NATO membership was approaching, the focus during the parliamentary elections in 2006 was particularly directed in the question whether the Ohrid Framework Agreement was implemented successfully and thus to enable free democratic elections to take place. However, the problematic elections and the Greek veto in Bucharest have endangered the ongoing reforms and democratization process in the country. Meanwhile, Macedonia has again intensified the reforms, so that according to the European Commission progress report in 2009, the presidential and the local elections were in line with the international standards and thus Brussels recommended the start of accession negotiations. Now the name dispute with Greece has to be resolved. The population, however, looks ahead. With the lifting of the visa requirements for travel in the EU in December 2009, one of the main barriers have been removed: an important sign from Brussels to Macedonia that EU accession of the country is manageable. Today, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung creates the foundation for political education free of stereotypes in a liberal and democratic form. In this framework, local young politicians, journalists and decision makers from politics and society are informed and trained in practice through workshops, seminars and conferences on political, economic and social issues. The focus of the work in the representative offices abroad is, above all, to promote a democratic party system to integrate the countries of the region into European structures and to support the recovery from the old system in the country.