Ivanov at the SEECP: We need new energy in regional cooperation
Friday, 30 June 2017 00:00   

PSJIEThe European Union sjould restore the faith and perspective for the entire region, but not only declaratively and only in words, but also with deeds, concrete steps and actions, said the President of the Republic of Macedonia, Gjorge Ivanov, in his address at the Summit of Heads of State and Governments of the participating countries of the South East European Cooperation Process, which takes place in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

"If the European Union, which is the single and most influential mobilizing and transformative force, does not make our future tangible and real, I have no dilemma that we will return to the past and things will get worse. In parallel, this process should be accompanied by the process of building trust, solidarity, cooperation and support in SEE, bilaterally or through the regional mechanisms we have, including the SEECP. New energy is needed, "President Ivanov said.

In his speech, the Macedonian President also pointed out the case of Macedonia's Euro-integration process as a typical example of a wrong and damaging approach so far, and called for greater mutual support for faster integration into the EU and NATO.

"Instead of talking about concrete projects that will benefit our nations, we blame each other. Instead of finding creative ways to help the countries of the region for their faster integration into the EU and NATO, we prefer to find creative ways to block the European path of the neighbors, "President Ivanov said, pointing out that sharp rhetoric by some politicians had a negative impact and strengthened tensions between countries in the region.

The head of state emphasized that the countries of the region must restore mutual trust, have political will and sincere cooperation based on concrete projects, in order to deal with the real and immediate challenges in the region. "We need a strategic turn to ourselves, towards the region, in conditions of global instability. But again, the region needs EU support, to make this strategic turning substantive and sustainable. Let's not allow fear and mistrust to steal our future and perspective ", said the Macedonian President.

He also pointed to the serious projections and expectations of new migration waves from African countries, which would allow the region to face serious security deficiencies, unless the level of regional co-operation between intelligence agencies and security forces is increased.

Ivanov emphasized the need for infrastructure and transport projects in order to better connect the region and improve the lives of citizens. "These projects can create thousands of jobs for the younger generation, facilitate transport and bring the citizens of our region hope that the future they want can become a reality without them leaving their countries," the Macedonian President said.

The SEECP Summit ended with the adoption of a joint declaration in which the leaders of the region reaffirmed the need to deepen regional co-operation among the countries of Southeastern Europe in the direction of further development of the prosperity and stability of the region. The Joint Declaration encompasses the commitments of the countries in terms of full European and Euro-Atlantic integration of the region, effective handling of security challenges, boosting economic cooperation, growth and development, as well as the needs of the parliamentary cooperation of the participating countries.

"We are convinced that European integration will not be complete until all countries in this region become part of the Union. Maintaining the momentum of enlargement and the continued commitment to reforms is crucial to the credibility of enlargement policy ", states the joint declaration of the SEECP countries. Regarding the security challenges in the declaration," We decided to invest our best efforts in building a sustainable network for cooperation and exchange of information in order to effectively combat the threats of terrorism and radicalization in the region. "In order to adequately respond to the challenges of the migrant crisis, it is pointed out that a common approach is needed, based on cooperation and dialogue between all SEECP participants.

President Ivanov will hold a bilateral meeting with the Croatian President, H.E. Ms. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic this afternoon.

The Summit is also attended by the President of Slovenia Mr. Borut Pahor; the President of the Republic opf Montenegro, Mr. Filip Vujanovic; the President of the Republic of Serbia, Mr. Aleksandar Vucic; the President of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci; the President of the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria, Boyko Borisov.

The Croatian Chairmanship with the SEECP ends with the Dubrovnik Summit. As of July 2017, the Chairmanship of the regional initiative, which is rotating among all member states, is assumed by the Republic of Slovenia.