North Macedonia remains firmly committed to its full EU membership and all its diplomatic efforts are aimed at promoting good neighbourly relations and regional co-operation in line with the European perspective. This is also a high priority of our foreign policy.
This message was sent yesterday from Rome by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bujar Osmani, during his meetings in the Italian capital with high-ranking Italian officials and the Secretary of State for Relations with the Holy See, Monsignor Paul Richard Gallagher.
Osmani said European reforms in North Macedonia must continue, especially in the areas of the rule of law and the fight against crime and corruption.
At the meetings, it was agreed that the start of accession negotiations will bring multiple benefits, both for North Macedonia and the region, but also for the credibility of the EU’s efforts to complete the European integration process.
“We remain firmly on the path to European integration. European reforms must continue, especially in the areas of the rule of law, with visible results and in the fight against crime and corruption. We must fully complete our preparations for the start of negotiations, complete the negotiating structure, strengthen the negotiating capacity. “Alignment with European rules and standards in the stabilization and association process must continue, as well as the implementation of European legislation, as well as all activities that have a conditional European framework”, Osmani said at the meeting with his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio.
The talks focused on European credibility in the region, which is closely linked to the credibility of the enlargement process, the harmonization of the negotiating framework for North Macedonia, and Italy’s strong and active support for the opening of negotiations for North Macedonia.
Economic co-operation was also discussed. Osmani reminded that Italy is consistently among the top ten countries in terms of the size of trade cooperation with North Macedonia, which exceeds half a billion euro, while in 2019 it amounted to 720 million euro.
At the meeting with the Secretary for Relations of the Holy See, Monsignor Paul Richard Gallagher, emphasis was placed on the perspective of mutual relations and the active role of North Macedonia in promoting interfaith dialogue and respect for religious freedoms.
The interlocutors agreed that the historic apostolic visit of Pope Francis to the Republic of North Macedonia in May 2019, brought a new dimension to the relationship of almost three decades, full of friendship and mutual respect.
Possibilities for strengthening sectoral cooperation between the two countries were also examined, mainly in the fields of culture, protection of cultural and historical heritage, education and health.
“All diplomatic efforts and the high priority of our foreign policy aim at promoting good neighbourly relations and regional cooperation, in order to provide a European perspective for both North Macedonia and the whole region. The foundations of our organization, as a multinational and multi-confessional society, are a model of values that is part of the value system of Western civilization”, Osmani said, adding that “our efforts were welcomed and the hope was expressed that the integration of Northern Macedonia will develop in a way that will be beneficial to the entire Western Balkans”.
During his visit to Rome, the Foreign Minister also met with the expatriates. In discussions with them, issues of interest to the diaspora were discussed, but the importance of the census was also stressed.
“We talked about other issues of interest to the diaspora, their concerns, needs, but also opportunities to improve communication with the country, opportunities to improve the availability of services used by citizens abroad, as well as the possibility of returning to North Macedonia», Osmani wrote on his Facebook profile.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia Bujar Osmani had a meeting with the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Community Affairs Committee of the Italian Parliament, Piero Fassino. Osmani posted on Twitter where he noted that he had a fruitful discussion on the cooperation between North Macedonia and Italy. He stressed that good neighboθrly relations, regional co-operation and economic diplomacy are the cornerstones of priorities, based on a positive agenda and genuine initiatives.
Osmani’s visit to Italy, according to the Foreign Ministry, comes at an extremely important time for the EU enlargement process./ibna