North Macedonia: Pendarovski meets with Borrell, Sassoli, Varhelyi and Lajcak

North Macedonia: Pendarovski meets with Borrell, Sassoli, Varhelyi and Lajcak

During his working visit to Brussels, President Stevo Pendarovski met today with the Vice President of the European Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, and the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli.

At the meeting with the Vice President of the European Commission and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Borrell, President Pendarovski said that in the past North Macedonia has shown political maturity and maximum focus in achieving its European perspective. Emphasizing that the integration of North Macedonia is in the interest of stability, security and prosperity of the entire region, President Pendarovski stressed the need for the European Union to further strengthen its role, which will have a positive impact on the overall political process, reform agenda and, generally, on optimism in the societies of the Western Balkan countries.

HR/VP Borrell reiterated North Macedonia’s clear and uncontested EU perspective and looked forward to the adoption of the negotiating framework by the Council so that the first intergovernmental conference can be held as soon as possible. The HR/VP stressed the importance of continuing to advance on EU reforms, in particular on the rule of law, in the interest of the country’s citizens. He welcomed the country’s enhanced record of alignment with the EU’s foreign and security policy.

The interlocutors also referred to the situation in the Union and in North Macedonia, related to the fight against Covid-19, as well as the immunization process. In this context, President Pendarovski welcomed the solidarity of the European Union and thanked for the overall support and assistance in dealing with the pandemic, and expressed expectation that by the end of August the vaccines that North Macedonia should receive through the mechanisms within the Union will arrive.

The EU has provided unprecedented financial assistance and strong partnership with the Western Balkans since the start of the pandemic and remains committed to helping the Western Balkans also in the aftermath. In this regard, the EU has put on the table an Economic Investment Plan of up to €9 billion to pave the way for more connected, green, and people-focused growth in the Western Balkans.

HR/VP Borrell and President Pendarovski discussed geopolitical and regional developments and the privileged partnership between the EU and the Western Balkans. This included the regional cooperation to help unlock economic potential and prepare the region for EU membership.

At the meeting with the President of the European Parliament, Sassoli, opinions and information were exchanged on the progress of North Macedonia in the key reform areas in the context of the European integration process, as well as on the current challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Both interlocutors stressed the extremely important continuous communication of our institutions with the European Parliament, which lays a solid foundation for significant progress in the implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement, as well as the process of integration and accession to the European Union. Expressing satisfaction with the strong and principled support of the EP in that direction, President Pendarovski stressed that the adoption of the negotiating framework and the holding of the first intergovernmental conference in the near future, is our key priority.

President Stevo Pendarovski launched earlier today his working visit to Brussels with the meetings with the EU Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Oliver Varhelyi, and the EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and Other Regional Issues in the Western Balkans, Miroslav Lajcаk.

At the meeting with the Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Union, Oliver Varhelyi, President Pendarovski expressed gratitude for his commitment and support for the implementation of the agreement on distribution of 651,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine to Western Balkan countries, of which North Macedonia shall receive 119,000 vaccines. The President said that it is crucial to accelerate the vaccination process in the coming period and to enable the life to return to normal as soon as possible, thanking the EU for its full support and assistance in dealing with the pandemic, as well as for the demonstrated solidarity.

President Pendarovski welcomed the role of Commissioner Varhelyi in the preparation of the economic-investment plan for the Western Balkans by the European Union and stressed the expectations that its implementation will have a very important positive impact on the socio-economic development of the countries and will strengthen the regional cooperation.

The interlocutors discussed the possibilities for North Macedonia to move forward in the European integration, in the context of the upcoming meetings within the European Union to be held in May and June this year, as well as the bilateral issues related to good neighborly relations. At the meeting, opinions and information were exchanged on overcoming the problems with Bulgaria.

President Pendarovski and Commissioner Varhelyi stressed the importance of holding an intergovernmental conference soon and formal start of accession negotiations for North Macedonia’s membership in the European Union.

The meeting with the European Union Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and Other Regional Issues in the Western Balkans, Miroslav Lajcak, discussed the latest developments in the region, as well as the challenges it faces in terms of regional stability.

The interlocutors stressed the importance of regional cooperation and the European Union enlargement process. In that context, President Pendarovski said that North Macedonia is ready to start accession negotiations with the EU/ibna