J. Joksimović: Serbia will help the EU integration of Macedonia

25. January 2018. | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: Serbia will help the EU integration of Macedonia

 

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has met today with Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Macedonia in charge of European Affairs Bujar Osmani, with whom she discussed the new Enlargement Strategy of the European Commission and the establishment of the Cross-Border Cooperation Programme between Serbia and Macedonia.

Minister Joksimović stressed that the announced EC Enlargement Strategy, which is expected in February this year, is important for both Serbia and Macedonia because it gives an "open door" and a clear perspective of the region towards the EU.

She recalled that Serbia and Montenegro are currently frontrunners regarding their negotiating processes for EU membership, but that the new Strategy will open the door for all countries that are successfully implementing the reforms.

"I have conveyed to my colleague from Macedonia the willingness of the Republic of Serbia to provide, as a frontrunner, its experience, knowledge and technical expertise for the continuation and intensification of European integration," Joksimović stressed.

The topic of the discussion between the two officials, from which the citizens will benefit the most, was also the establishment of the Cross-Border Cooperation Programme between Serbia and Macedonia, with a total of EUR 3.5 million in EU grants allocated for the period 2016−2020, whereof EUR 1.4 million was allocated in 2016 and 2017.

Joksimović stressed that this topic is important for the citizens of the Pčinja and Jablanica Districts, as well as for the citizens of the northeastern part of Macedonia and the Skopje region, which will be part of the Cross-Border Cooperation Programme, with the operational centre located in Leskovac.

"This means that the municipalities from these regions will be able to prepare projects for local self-employment, competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as for sustainable tourism development, preservation of cultural goods and environmental protection," Joksimović explained.

She pointed out that this would further enhance the cooperation between the two countries within the European integration process, and show that we are ready to cooperate to the benefit of the citizens, while it will also strengthen our bilateral relations.

Joksimović said that she is not always entirely content with this approach to the region as a package, but also that, if we are already being regarded in this way - as a region, it is in our interest to work together as much as we can and to profit from that. After all, this is what the citizens expect, the Minister stated. She stressed that Serbia and Macedonia signed an Agreement in the field of European integration in 2013, which will soon be updated to match the broader scope for cooperation.

She recalled that Serbia has so far had successful cross-border cooperation with Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia.

According to her, the visit of the Macedonian Deputy Prime Minister is important because it shows regularity in high political contacts and dialogue established between the two countries.

"We have presented several important topics in our bilateral relations, and we expect that, at some future joint session of the government, numerous issues will be opened and resolved in a positive manner," Minister Joksimović concluded.

Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Macedonia in charge of European Affairs Bujar Osmani pointed out that Serbia and Macedonia have a common strategic goal, which is the EU membership.

"I think that we have great potential for cooperation and mutual assistance on this path towards Brussels," Osmani said.

Speaking about the European Union's Enlargement Strategy, announced for 6 February, he deemed it a "historical document" which will provide the countries in the region with a prospect and perspective of EU membership.

He said that he hopes an agreement will be reached between Skopje and Athens regarding the new name of Macedonia, which will remove the obstacle to the process of European integration. He pointed out that Macedonia hopes to start the negotiations in June, and stressed that Serbian experience in the negotiation process will be of great significance to his country, citing the experience in the formation of the Negotiating Team, the selection of members...

"We want to benefit from the Serbian experience in these areas, and I have received some very constructive suggestions from Minister Joksimović today. It is clear that there is willingness to help Macedonia on its path to the EU," Osmani stressed.

Regarding the Cross-Border Cooperation Programme between Serbia and Macedonia, he said that it will provide the opportunity to speed up the negotiation process and use grants of the EU which will open the possibility for new funds.

He concluded that this will be a pivotal year, and that a time of reconciliation among peoples, time of prosperity and closer cooperation is ahead of the Balkans.

In addition to the tête-à-tête discussion, a meeting of broad delegations of the two countries was held, attended by Head of the Serbian Negotiating Team Tanja Miščević, as well as the representatives of the Secretariat for European Integration of Macedonia.

Source: Tanjug

 

 

 

 

 

 

Јадранка Јоксимовић и Бујар Османи

 

 

Јадранка Јоксимовић и Бујар Османи

 

 

Јадранка Јоксимовић и Бујар Османи

 

 

Јадранка Јоксимовић и Бујар Османи

 

 

Јадранка Јоксимовић и Бујар Османи

 

 

Јадранка Јоксимовић и Бујар Османи