As part of their regional tour, a delegation from the French Senate consisting of Marta de Cidrac - President of the France-Western Balkans Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, Arnaud Bazin - President of the France-North Macedonia Friendship Group, Vincent Seguin - President of the Montenegro Friendship Group, Mickael Vallet - President of the Serbia Friendship Group, and Guillaume Renaudineau, Secretary of the France-Western Balkans Friendship Group, are paying a working visit to North Macedonia, where they also met with Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Nikola Dimitrov.
The visit is taking place in the context of the preparations for the French Presidency of the Council of the EU, where the key topics of discussion include the EU Agenda priorities for the coming period including the enlargement policy in that regard, as well as the French support to North Macedonia’s efforts to adopt the negotiation framework with the EU, which should reflect the new accession negotiation methodology initiated precisely by France. Deputy Prime Minister Dimitrov addressed the reforms essential for the transfer of European values to North Macedonia within the Europe at Home Agenda and stressed that the dominance of bilateral issues in this process is contrary to the principles of the new methodology which aims to strengthen the credibility of the European perspective for the region.
Dimitrov: “North Macedonia is the best example that can ensure a breakthrough in the region, an example that will show that the negotiation process can truly succeed and strengthen the transformative power of the Union. We have shown that we are ready for the European challenges that mean competition in meeting the rule-of-law standards, democratic institutions and human rights’ protection, and we can meet all the requirements as long as they are in the European spirit, which is why French support is particularly important to us. Validation of the success achieved is important primarily for the citizens of this region, especially the young people, who view the start of the accession process as a green light for their European future.”
French senators welcomed the progress in key reform areas with a special focus on the Foundations cluster and the contribution to both regional and European stability, emphasizing that North Macedonia is a credible partner of France and the EU when it comes to Europeanisation of the region and shared address of global challenges. On behalf of the French Senate, they expressed strong support for the implementation of the EU Council decision to start accession negotiations with North Macedonia, which will mean operationalization of the new methodology for accession negotiations, but also the possibility of rapprochement of the two countries’ friendly peoples.
Interlocutors also discussed the inter-parliamentary cooperation, underlining the importance of sharing French knowledge and experience to strengthen the democratic capacity and citizens’ trust. At the same time, they talked about the French economic presence in the country and the deepening of bilateral cooperation in that area.