The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for implementing and monitoring all the international (bilateral or multilateral) agreements and conventions. The Ministry of Culture (with UNESCO National Commission) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, depending on the field of interest, are responsible for implementing and monitoring the conventions in the field of culture, such as the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The Convention was ratified on May 22, 2007. In the past several years UNESCO has supported 15 projects in the fields of culture, education, science etc., and 8 grants for young researchers, professionals in the protection of cultural heritage etc.
Since January 2008, North Macedonia (as a candidate for full EU membership) has access to European Union funds for culture. A Culture Contact Point was established (as part of the Ministry’s Department for EU Integration), to inform and advise Macedonian institutions on accessing these funds.
The European Union (EU) has allocated EUR 57.7 million for North Macedonia to participate in 12 EU programmes so far, including Erasmus+, Creative Europe, the programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME), Horizon 2020, Customs 2020, Fiscalis 2020 and Europe for Citizens. North Macedonia is trying to make the most of EU funding to support its CCS: its cultural operators have been involved in 79 Creative Europe projects between 2014 and 2020 (as project coordinator for 45 of these projects).
Through the EU’s Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA), DG NEAR of the European Commission is funding the Creative Europe Culture Sub-programme – Western Balkans Cooperation Projects. The programme is managed by DG EAC with a total budget estimated at EUR 5 million. Selection results on the first call were announced on 30 July 2020. The 13 winning applications include 12 cultural organisations from North Macedonia (out of a total of 77 beneficiary organisations).
In 2018, the Centre for Cultural Cooperation of the “Initiative 16+1” was open for cultural cooperation with 16 South-East European countries and PR China.
In 2018, the Minister of Culture signed the Davos Declaration 2018 “Towards a high-quality Baucultur for Europe”.
There are Macedonian cultural centres in Sofia (Bulgaria), New York (USA), Istanbul (Turkey) and Tirana (Albania) that play a certain role in international cooperation.
There are no exact strict government programmes to support trans-national intercultural dialogue, but certain programmes are channelled via the Ministry of Culture or intergovernmental organisations. The Ministry of Culture supports specific trans-national activities for young people or youth groups, through funds available for travel grants, language or cross-cultural training courses.
The Treaty for good neighbourly relations (2017) with Bulgaria and the Final Agreement for the Settlement of the Name Issue (2018) with Greece are a serious step towards international cultural dialogue and co-operation.
The Final Agreement for Settlement of the Name Issue in article 14.8 points out that “The Parties shall support the broadening of tourist exchanges, and the development of their cooperation in the fields of alternative tourism, including cultural, religious, educational, medical, and athletic tourism and shall cooperate in improving and promoting business and tourist travel between them”.