The Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia in charge of European Affairs, Fatmir Besimi, PhD, today, at the premises of the Secretariat for European Affairs held working meetings with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria HE Mr. Daniel Mitov and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Albania HE Mr. Ditmir Bushati.
At the meetings, the development of the bilateral relations over the potential was discussed for its further deepening through the key topics related to the process of Euro-Atlantic integration of the Republic of Macedonia and through direct support from the two friendly neighboring countries.
At the meetings it was concluded that the bilateral relations are at high level, but that in this important period for the Republic of Macedonia, when exit roads are required from the current political situation, with the support of the structures and instruments of the EU, Macedonia expects the unconditional and concrete practical support for our Euro-Atlantic integration.
Besides the bilateral cooperation, the relevance and importance of continuous extension of regional cooperation were stressed, helped by the Berlin process, in order to greater interdependence as well as the need for prompt fulfillment of the European standards and membership of all Western Balkan countries in the European Union thus contributing to a better future, peace, stability, economic development and progress.
The possibilities for using funds were considered from the Western Balkan Investment Framework 2015 (WBIF 2015) for major infrastructure projects in the countries of the Western Balkans.
At the same time, the priorities were discussed on long and medium term covered within the Western Balkans (WB 6), where the Corridor 10 and Corridor 8 are highlighted as a priority and will be presented to the European Commission at the upcoming Summit in Vienna, to be held this week. In this regard, Macedonia is expecting the finalisation of concrete decisions, within the meetings of the Vienna Summit and their faster implementation with the support of the funds of the European Union and the international financial instruments.
Focusing on the status of the key reforms in the process, the Deputy Prime Minister underlined that the European integration has been and will remain a key strategic priority of the Republic of Macedonia. The conclusion of a deal to overcome the political situation and the challenges is evidence of the awareness and commitment of the political leaders in the country for the Euro-Atlantic perspective.
The agreements signed by the main political leaders provide guidelines for the areas in which we need to focus and the time frame in which the specific activities have to be undertaken.
These include the list of urgent reform priorities and the High Level Expert Group Report on the situation with interception. The documents are roadmap for operation of the Macedonian institutions despite the serious political challenges faced in the past, making every effort to remain focused on the reform process and in such circumstances to ensure fulfillment of the reform agenda.
At the meeting the IPA instrument was also discussed, the possibilities of its more efficient use, IPA Cross-Border Cooperation Programmes with Bulgaria and Albania as well as the instruments TAIEX and TWINNING with Bulgaria.
At the meeting with the Minister Mitov the new cross-border cooperation programme with Bulgaria was discussed, which was adopted on 5 August by the European Commission, and announcements are expected to be published. The programme is worth 19 million EUR (EU funds and national co-financing), for both countries within the sectors of Environment, Tourism and Competitiveness.
Within IPA 2007-2013, 79 projects of the same programme are undergoing.
At the meeting with the Minister Bushati the cross-border cooperation programme with Albania was discussed, adopted by the end of the last year, with a total of 11.9 million EUR (EU funds and national co-financing) for both countries within the sectors of tourism, competitiveness and environment.
Within IPA 2007-2013, about 50 projects of the same programme are undergoing.