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Thursday, 28 February

Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă welcomed the Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev

Joint press statements by Prime Minister Viorica Dancila and the Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev


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Viorica Dancila: I am particularly honored to welcome today in Bucharest, the Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev, only a couple of months after we met in Skopje, in July 2018. This visit gives me the occasion to reconfirm our commitment to the continuation of the EU enlargement process. Western Balkans represent a priority area for Romania’s foreign policy action in this period too when we are holding the presidency of the EU Council. We want the entire region to achieve progress, based on its own merits and the fulfillment of the accession criteria. Our approach aims at meeting the objectives established through the June 2018 Council’s conclusions, occasion with which the EU commitment regarding the enlargement policy was reaffirmed. Significant changes took place within seven months since my visit to Skopje: the Prespa Agreement was ratified in both Skopje and Athens, the Republic of North Macedonia signed the NATO Accession Protocol on February 6, 2019, and the new name of the country took effect on February 12. I congratulated Prime Minister Zaev for all this spectacular progress, for his decisive contribution, his courage and energy. I also congratulated the European model used in solving this dispute, and I consider that this success may constitute a real inspiration for the region and the entire Europe. The beneficial effects of the Prespa Agreement have already materialized by bringing the country closer to NATO and hopefully, they will entail results in terms of the country’s European path too. I assured my counterpart of Romania’s full support for the North Macedonia to become the 30th NATO allied state as soon as possible  and I informed  him that the legislative process whereby Romania ratifies the Accession Protocol of the Republic of North Macedonia to NATO, will be inked in the upcoming period. In this respect, the draft law on the ratification was approved by the Romanian Government and unanimously passed yesterday by the Chamber of Deputies. I reconfirmed to my colleague from North Macedonia, Romania’s strong support for his country’s European path, and I encouraged him to continue the reform process in order to have the necessary arguments for the adoption of a decision on the opening of the EU accession negotiations. During talks, I presented the support offer of Romanian institutions for the accession negotiations, given Romania’s relatively recent experience in this process. I addressed alongside my Macedonian counterpart Mr. Zoran Zaev the stage of our bilateral cooperation and I noticed progress has been made since our last meeting. We discussed at the same time about the bilateral economic relations, which I consider should be improved, to allow us to fully capitalize on the current cooperation potential existing between our countries. It is obvious that the trade exchanges have known an upward trend, and we agreed on measures that would streamline our relations in the future too. In this respect, we agreed to organize a Bilateral Business Forum by the end of this year that would allow the intensification of cooperation between companies in the two countries. We also submitted  the proposal to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of investment. We agreed to organize new meetings of the Joint Committees already existing on the basis of bilateral agreements, such as the Road Joint Committee, Joint Committee of economic, technical and scientific cooperation. We want to intensify cooperation between the two countries in the cultural and educational areas and I was glad to learn that the Parliament of the Republic of North Macedonia has on its current agenda the ratification of the Agreement with Romania in this field. In our dialogue, I voiced my belief that the coming into force of this bilateral agreement will create new opportunities and a more consistent and more diversified support to programmes intended for persons belonging to our kindred minorities. I exchanged views alongside Prime Minister Zaev, on recent regional developments and their impact on the security and interests of Romania and the Republic of North Macedonia. We agreed to closely cooperate at regional and international levels. We also discussed about Romania’s priorities as President of the Council of the European Union, and about current EU challenges. As a conclusion, I want to thank Prime Minister Zaev for the open and constructive talks we have had. I assure you that Romania will remain a friendly state and a firm and active supporter of the Republic of North Macedonia’s European objective.

Zoran Zaev: Dear Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, dear citizens, dear mass media representatives, sincere greetings from the citizens of my country, from the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia. I brought with me a bit of our Macedonian sun, from the south of Balkans, from North Macedonia, here, in Romania. First of all, allow me to thank you on behalf of our citizens for the ratification yesterday of the Republic of North Macedonia’s NATO Accession Protocol in the Chamber of Deputies of the Romanian Parliament and for all the support you granted to our country so far, for its NATO accession. I am particularly pleased to be in this official visit to Bucharest, visit which coincides with an important stage, that of ratification of the Republic of North Macedonia’s accession to NATO.

Eleven years ago, here, in Bucharest, an historic opportunity for our country to join the North Atlantic Alliance was blown. Today, based on the past, we are building the future. North Macedonia is on the Atlantic path. Friends, thank you very much. We thank you also for the fact that Romania during its EU Council presidency, maintains the focus on EU enlargement. Romania backs the Republic of North Macedonia in its European aspirations. Without any reserve, I will convey the expectations of Government and our countries regarding NATO perspectives in June, to confirm the decision to start negotiations with the European Union.

NATO and the EU are necessary for the Republic of North Macedonia and the entire region, [they] mean stability, safety, development and progress. These are necessary and useful for the countries of the Western Balkans and the European countries for development. The Republic of North Macedonia is going through a process of essential reforms, we know that the implementation of laws is paramount, we know that we have to bring results in key-areas of reform, this is why, every day, with dedication, we are working in all these areas for European principles and values. We changed the political climate in the country, we placed the Republic of North Macedonia on a clear path of democracy, we made courageous steps in order to reach an agreement with the neighboring country Bulgaria and the neighboring country Greece.

The Prespa Agreement is an example that a decision to solve the most complicated bilateral political issues is possible. It was a great pleasure to discuss with Prime Minister Dancila about economic cooperation and organizing a business forum, about the investors’ interest to develop the relations between our countries. There are unsolved issues between the two countries. We will do this through an agreement between the two countries in the field of education, science, culture, mass-media, youth and sports, which is in its final stage and we are waiting today its ratification by the Parliament of the Republic of North Macedonia. This will take place today, after 12.00 (noon). In conclusion, I would like to thank you, Prime Minister Dancila, to thank the Romanian Government, the leadership, for your warm welcome, and to convey that you will always have a friend in the Republic of North Macedonia and I invite you to maintain your support which is so necessary to us. We will know this and we will reciprocate it in the same way. Thank you very much!



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