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Sunday, February 25, 2018, 

PM Zaev: EC Strategy - good news for Macedonia

PM Zaev: EC Strategy - good news for Macedonia

Skopje, 6 February 2018 (MIA) - The EU enlargement strategy involving the Western Balkan countries for us is good news. It notes that the Republic of Macedonia has made a significant progress on its European path as the European Commission says it is ready to extend a recommendation for start of membership negotiations based on the conditions it has fulfilled, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev stated Tuesday at a news conference alongside EU Ambassador Samuel Zbogar.

The Strategy, he said, suggests Macedonia is on the right track. According to Zaev, the position of the EU expressed in the Strategy that each country can make progress and join the group of leaders on this path according to their real merits is yet another recognition deemed of particular importance for the citizens of Macedonia.

"This is an additional incentive that raises the hopes of Macedonia. This is an additional motivation to work hard and catch up with the group of countries that are already in negotiations, such as Serbia and Montenegro. For us, for the citizens of Macedonia, it is a confirmation of the success of all our efforts so far in all areas targeted by reforms," noted PM Zaev.

According to him, this success is a success of all of us - the whole country, of all institutions, all political parties, all communities and all of the citizens of Macedonia all the while serving as an encouragement to double efforts to produce more results in all key areas covered in the Strategy. 

Considering the impetus and encouragement deriving from this significant EC document, Zaev once again called on Macedonia's President, MPs, opposition and all state institutions to invest all of their capacities and take active part in the reform process for the benefit of the country and all of its citizens.

The Strategy, he said, notifies that all countries must unequivocally commit, in both word and deed, to overcome the legacy of the past, by achieving reconciliation and solving open issues, in particular border disputes, well before accession to the European Union.

'Macedonia's government remains genuinely committed to contribute to the confidence building measures with Greece and facilitating the settlement of the name problem our southern neighbor is having with the constitutional name of our country. Serious steps for a dignified solution of this matter have been taken for the last few months,' Zaev said.

For PM Zaev the EC Strategy is a good and optimistic news for all Western Balkan countries. There is no doubt that it opens Macedonia's road to the EU membership, he stressed.

The EC Strategy, EU Ambassador to Macedonia Samuel Zbogar said, speaks very clearly about the future of the Western Balkans.

'For the EU it speaks very clearly why it is in the interest of the Union to have the Western Balkans inside as well as what kind of investment it presents for the future of the EU. It speaks about the huge connectivity between the EU and the Western Balkans, a large EU member states' investment in the region, a huge trade of EUR 43 billion, with the Union being the biggest investor, the biggest trade partner, the biggest donor of the region,' Zbogar said.

Speaking about the Western Balkans, Zbogar notified that the region 'as it is today is not yet ready for the EU membership'.

'There is a need for reforms to be done, sped up, but provided that the leaders of the countries in the region take urgent action there is a possibility for the first of them to enter the EU by 2025,' Zbogar said. ba/lk/19:23

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