President Ivanov hosts a meeting of the leaders of the participating countries of the Brdo-Brijuni Process
Friday, 27 April 2018 23:50   

BB_novosti1The President of the Republic of Macedonia, Dr. Gjorge Ivanov, in Skopje hosted a meeting of the leaders of the participating countries of the Brdo-Brijuni Process.

The meeting was attended by the President of the Republic of Albania, Mr. Ilir Meta, the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Bakir Izetbegovic, the President of the Republic of Kosovo, Mr. Hashim Thaci, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, the President of the Republic of Serbia, Mr. Aleksandar Vucic, the President of the Republic of Croatia, Ms. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and the President of Montenegro, Mr. Filip Vujanovic.

Special guests at the meeting in Skopje were the President of the European Council, Mr. Donald Tusk, and the President of the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Boyko Borisov.

At the press conference following the meeting of the leaders of the Brdo-Brijuni Process countries, President Ivanov said that top strategic goals of the Republic of Macedonia are membership in NATO and the EU and assessed that for a long time the policy of enlargement failed in the case of the country, not because of the principles and criteria of the EU, but because of disrespect of those principles and criteria by one member state.

- As President of the Republic of Macedonia, I call on the Union to allow parallel movement of membership negotiations and overcoming the bilateral difference between Macedonia and Greece, President Ivanov said.

He added that by its very nature, enlargement is a political, not just a technical issue.

- The European Council has the final word, and not the European Commission. The political issue cannot be solved only by a technical approach; it requires courage, determination and creativity from the Union. There is no better example of this than Slovenia and Croatia, which, with the help of the European Union, managed to find a way for parallel negotiations. Thanks to this European approach, Slovenia and Croatia today are leaders of the Brdo-Brijuni Process, President Ivanov said.

The European Council President, Donald Tusk, stressed that the region needs more positive examples, such as the Treaty of good neighborly relations between Macedonia and Bulgaria, the agreement between Pristina and Montenegro.

- Perhaps, the history of the Balkans, which resembles a horror film that never ends, still has a happy ending. What happened with North and South Korea shows that the impossible becomes possible, Tusk said.

He noted that during his tour of the Western Balkans he gave a clear message that EU member states are firmly committed to the European perspective of the region.

- You can count on us, it is not just empty words, it is a fact, Tusk said.

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The Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov voiced hope that Macedonia and Greece will soon resolve the name dispute and that there is a historic opportunity for that now. And he made a parallel with North and South Korea, noting that when these two countries managed to reach an agreement, the countries of the region would certainly be able to overcome the differences.

The Croatian President Grabar-Kitarovic welcomed the decision recommending the start of negotiations with Macedonia and Albania and stressed that Zagreb will do everything possible to speed up this process for the two countries.

- Croatia strongly supports the enlargement policy, which is based on the principle of individual merits, which is based on strict rules and valuation, President Grabar-Kitarovic said.

The Slovenian President Pahor said that the EC's decision to support again the reforms in the countries of the region so that they become part of the Union is of great importance.

- Based on my political experience, it is clear that Brussels cannot do everything if the leaders of the countries fail to do it themselves. I am convinced that with good political will all problems can be solved and I see the future with optimism, Pahor said.

The leaders in the conclusions, among others, welcomed the messages and concrete proposals of the EU's Western Balkans Strategy and the confirmation of a credible expansion and strengthening of the EU engagement with the region. They particularly welcomed the upcoming EU-Western Balkans summit, to be held in Sofia, as a concrete expression of the renewed EU approach to the region.

- We encourage the resolution of open issues and disputes in the spirit of good neighborly relations and in accordance with international law, reverting to the means of peaceful settlement, primarily to permanent international courts and tribunals, as well as arbitration, the leaders said.

The focus of this year's Meeting of the Leaders of the participating countries in the Brdo-Brijuni Process in Skopje is the need to improve the interconnection in political, economic, infrastructural and security terms, in the context of the new EU strategy for the Western Balkans.

Within the Brdo-Brijuni Process, for the first time upon the initiative of the Republic of Macedonia, a meeting of the Directors of the Intelligence Agencies of the participating countries will be held to discuss the security connectivity as a segment of the regional cooperation.

The Meeting of the Leaders of the participating countries in the Brdo-Brijuni Process will be held next year in Albania.

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