Common goal of the countries of Western Balkan and European Union are European integrations
The Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia in charge of European Affairs Dr. Fatmir Besimi met the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for foreign affairs of Republic of Greece who cares the capacity as President of the Council of Ministers of the European Union H.E. Evangelos Venizelos.
Besimi has welcomed Venizelos, noting that the visit is an excellent opportunity to discuss about European integrations and strengthening of the cooperation. By Venizelos were presented the priorities of the Greek Presidency with Council of EU. Besimi wished him successful implementation of the determined priorities and emphasized that it is important for Macedonia as well, having in mind that the full membership in European Union is a strategic priority for the Republic Macedonia.
Besimi also pointed the need and importance of accelerating the process of European integration of the Republic of Macedonia and the Western Balkans countries within the positive attitude of the Thessaloniki Summit in 2003 and the Strategy for EU enlargement for Western Balkans countries 2013-14 . At the meeting was discussed the extent of realization from the December conclusions of the Council of EU. In this regard, Besimi noted the importance of High Level Accessible Dialogue - HLAD and commitments undertaken by the Government of Republic of Macedonia in terms of reforms and promotion of good neighborly relations regarding the outstanding issues in order to start the negotiations with the EU and acceleration of European integration.
Regarding to HLAD, Besimi stressed that Macedonia is making efforts, and will continue with activities to achieve results for providing a certain dynamism and continuity of democratic development thus expecting increased confidence among member states. Among the most important reforms of the last period he noted the progress on the legislative framework for the media and the promotion of the dialogue with journalists, consensual adoption of the amendments to the Electoral Code, adopted laws regarding the reforms on public administration, activities for reducing unemployment with special focus on young people. Besimi highlighted also the adoption of pre-accession economic programe for the period 2014-2016 and plans to prepare a document for national competitiveness.
Among other things he pointed out that we are looking for concerted efforts to move in a smooth opening of the second phase of Stabilization and Association Agreement with aim for further improving the economy of Republic of Macedonia and for achievement of full association
At the meeting also was discussed the deepening of economic cooperation, where Greece was highlighted as one of our most important trading partners and one of the largest foreign investors in the Republic Macedonia. They stressed also the positive experience that both countries have in their cooperation within the EU Instrument for Pre-Accesion Assistance – IPA.
In the period 1996-2006 before the establishment of the IPA instrument, the cooperation in the field of EU aids between Macedonia and Greece, mainly arise from the projects of the PHARE program and CARDS program, totaling approximately 50 million. Following this, in 2007 with the establishment of the IPA instrument this cooperation successfully continues in the form of IPA CBC Programme Macedonia – Greece 2007 – 2013.
Within this successful program which presents the best one (according to the results and the quality of projects) of all such bilateral SVS IPA Cross-border Co-operation in which Macedonia participated, Vice Besimi noted that so far are published three Calls for project proposals that have been approved for funding a total of 38 projects, with total amount of 7.23 million euros EU funds, for which have already been signed grant agreements, and some are already fully implemented. Ongoing is the evaluation of the Third call, after which (during the second quarter of this year) will follow further signing of grant agreements, which are expected to increase this amount to nearly 9.5 mil.
At the meeting was discussed the intensification of the cooperation on the field of cross-border cooperation and also finding innovative ways of cooperation in the forthcoming structural funds