INTEGRATION Zaev, Dimitrov, Osmani hold online meeting with EU’s top diplomat Borrell

Holding of the first North Macedonia/EU intergovernmental conference will be a positive signal to the entire region, said PM Zoran Zaev, Deputy PM for European Affairs Nikola Dimitrov and FM Bujar Osmani during an online meeting with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell on Thursday.

The meeting is part of a series of online meetings with top EU officials scheduled for today that include talks with European Council President Charles Michel, European Parliament President David Sassoli and EU Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi, government press service said.

During an online meeting, PM Zaev thanked EU’s top diplomat Borrell for his personal contribution to North Macedonia’s EU accession path, highlighting the EU Council’s decision in March to open accession negotiations with the country, which marked a new era in mutual relations.

Zaev voiced hope that this support will be formalized with the adoption of the negotiating framework at the beginning of next month, followed by the first intergovernmental conference by the end of the year.

“Holding of the first North Macedonia/EU intergovernmental conference will be a positive signal to the entire region and will reaffirm the European perspective of the Western Balkans as a geo-strategic interest of the European Union,” Zaev said.

North Macedonia remains committed to fostering good neighbourly relations with the implementation of the Prespa Agreement and the Treaty on Good Neighbourliness and Friendship with Bulgaria, which brought new energy and contributed to the renewal of EU enlargement with countries in the region.

Zaev also underlined that the new coalition government and all institutions are fully committed to the continue the reforms and achieve results related to the rule of law and the fight against organized crime and corruption as the highest priority.

“The important results achieved in strengthening the independence of the judiciary, the adoption of the Law on Public Prosecution, as well as the results of investigations and final verdicts in cases of corruption and organized crime, are noted in the annual EC Progress Report on North Macedonia. They will continue to be our focus by openly inviting the opposition to join the Parliament, as well as through dialogue with civil society and our international partners,” it was said during an online meeting.

The presented Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans is of great importance for supporting the development of the private sector, transport and energy connectivity, digitalization, green agenda and social investments in the region.

The strong EU/North Macedonia relations were confirmed also with the support to the country with common EU response to COVID-19 and contributed to strengthening ties with the EU, Zaev noted.

Borrell stressed that it is highly important for Brussels that the intensive cooperation with a government, which has proven to be committed to North Macedonia’s EU integration process, to continue and that he expected the first intergovernmental conference to be held as soon as possible.

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