Press Releases

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Dimitrov participated today in Bratislava in the meeting of foreign ministers of the Visegrad Group and Western Balkan countries.  

 

This year’s meeting is Bratislava is held during the Slovak Presidency of the Visegrad Group, and the main topic for discussion was the advancement of the reform and EU integration process of Western Balkan countries and lessons learned. In addition, the common European future was tackled within the new geopolitical context.

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The meeting reaffirmed the commitment of the Visegrad Group to continue supporting the Euro-Atlantic integration of the countries in the region, ahead of the publication of the EC’s annual reports, where the need was unanimously ascertained for the EU to adequately acknowledge the progress of the Region and especially that of the Republic of North Macedonia in this past period. Main emphasis was placed on the importance of the EU integration process as the vital impetus for accelerated reforms and progress in Western Balkan countries, but also for the further consolidation of the Balkans in the existing complex geopolitical context.

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In his speech, Minister Dimitrov thanked for the support of our partners from the Visegrad Group and mainly tackled the importance of maintaining an open European perspective for the region through objective recognition of the progress achieved. In that vein he noted that this process is double sided i.e. that the candidate countries have to continuously work to improve themselves and to deliver positive results, while the EU has to adequately evaluate the progress achieved through the accession process.

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FM Dimitrov said: “Tomorrow we expect a positive report from the European Commission which will openly reflect the turnaround that North Macedonia has achieved in this past period. Both internally through improvements in key areas and the democratic processes and externally through the agreements with Greece and Bulgaria. Then we expect a political decision to start negotiation talks by this year’s end. This doesn’t mean that we expect or that we are ready to become a member today or even tomorrow. It means opening the next phase; the beginning of a new stage on our European path which will be long of course, and will certainly require a lot more work to be done. But this beginning is deserved and crucial for our European future!”

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FM added: “The process of the Union’s internal integration should go hand in hand with the enlargement process with the countries of the region. Having a European Balkan is above all in our interest, the countries of the region, but it is also indisputably in EU’s interest. We, the region, need to work more intensively on establishing a positive dynamic, where success will inspire success and good news. It is also important for the EU to acknowledge the success achieved and to keep the process alive and credible. This is how we can all succeed together and make a difference.”

On the sidelines of the V4-Western Balkans meeting, Minister Dimitrov held talks with the host Miroslav Lajčák, Slovak’s FM and other attending colleagues, as well as separate bilateral meeting with his Hungarian and Albanian counterpart, Péter Szijjártó and Gent Cakaj, respectively.

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