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Saturday, June 23, 2018, 

Zaev: Regional cooperation is not a substitute for EU membership

Zaev: Regional cooperation is not a substitute for EU membership

Sarajevo, 24 July 2017 (MIA) - The promotion of regional cooperation cannot be a substitute but a faster path to the EU membership, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said in the interview with regional television station N1 given during his official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

All western countries will respect us more if we are connected. Because it will be easier for us to jointly win those markets. There are also EU funds, which will make easier for us to obtain funds, Zaev said responding to question whether he believes in the thesis that Brussels wants to create new Yugoslavia as a replacement for membership of these countries in the EU.

According to him, the problem is in the politicians in regard to the common progress of the countries in the region underlying the example that Bosniaks and Croatians cooperate in business, sports, culture in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The problems come from politicians. We have forgotten to rejoice in life. We should live, we should understand that we are transient, we come and go. Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted 3.000 decisions with consensus however I know that there are ethnic problems. Let’s overcome the problems. Politicians should fight for the rights of other ethnic communities. In this way we will have progress in the region, Zaev emphasized.

Speaking about speeding up Macedonia’s path to NATO and EU as well as name dispute with Greece, Zaev said that the new government decided to settle all disputes with its neighbours.

The relations both with Bulgaria and Albania and even with Greece are now excellent. We have decided no matter what to build good relations with all our neighbours. We ask for assistance in finding way for Macedonia to come closer to the EU. We were granted EU candidate status in 2005 and since then we are in standstill. Greece will also benefit from Macedonia’s becoming NATO and EU member, Zaev said.

He also underlined that they have overcome all disagreements with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

Serbia did not have any influence or bad intentions towards Macedonia. Surely there were comments during the presidential campaign mentioning of “Macedonian scenario,” but I do not go into this. We had excellent working dinner with the leaders of Western Balkans when I and then Prime Minister and current President Vucic explained all disagreements, shook hands and promised to cooperate, Zaev said.

He also said that he had a good bilateral meeting with the new Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic.

We had a wonderful bilateral meeting with the new Prime Minister, Ana Brnabic, who really opened some nice perspectives, which I support. We have an obligation to follow what our citizens want. Our citizens want cooperation. We are close nations, we really have a great perspective. Politicians must open such perspectives and promote them for the benefit of the citizens of Macedonia and Serbia, PM Zaev said in the interview. sk/10:53

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