NATO membership status for Macedonia, launching of its EU accession talks, strengthening of the security cooperation for stable region, refraining from nationalist rhetoric and non-interference in internal affairs are the key messages President Gjorge Ivanov presented Saturday at a meeting of the Brdo–Brijuni Process Leaders in Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia.
‘The nationalist rhetoric undermines the good-neighborly relations in the region and the interference in the internal affairs of the neighbors fuels tensions,’ Ivanov said, notifying that the essence of the Brdo–Brijuni Process is for the region to resolve problems via dialogue and mutual respect.
Macedonia’s protracted status que in terms of its Euro-Atlantic integration processes has heightened the crisis in the country and offered alibi to politicians to divert from the European path, Ivanov said.
‘One of the reasons for stagnation, even for the retrograde processes in the region is the insufficient EU engagement and attention. We fully understand that the EU is dealing with several crises, but at the same time it should not allow yet another Balkan crisis,’ Ivanov said. He expressed belief that Germany – as the EU driving power – would be able to help to the entire region.
He called on the EU to draw conclusions from the effects of its approach thus far to Macedonia and the region, as well as to come up with a creative, innovative mechanism for opening the chapters 23 & 24 of the acquis. Opening of the accession negotiations on judiciary, fundamental rights, justice, freedom and security will be a driving force for intensifying the reform processes in the countries of the region, Ivanov said.
He suggested Greek PM Alexis Tsipras, EU and officials from Bulgaria – as EU Presidency holder, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II to be invited to the next summit of the Brdo-Brijuni Process, which is to take place in Macedonia, considering the security risks related to the migrant crisis and the need for cooperation to that effect with third countries.
The process of reforms and integration of Southeast European countries should be stepped up and be constantly in the focus of interest of the EU, which will be completed and made stronger once those countries join it, reads a declaration adopted at today’s summit and presented by Slovenian President Borut Pahor, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and German President Frank Walter-Steinmeier.
It is necessary to continue with the political and economic cooperation, reads the declaration, calling on the countries in the region to refrain from nationalist and inflammatory rhetoric.
Cooperation and dialogue should be promoted instead, says the document.
Steinmeier attended the summit as a guest from the EU’s strongest member that heads the complementary Berlin Process, aimed at promoting regional cooperation.
The Brdo-Brijuni Process was launched by Croatia and Slovenia in 2013 with the aim of strengthening cooperation and confidence in the region and helping step up the integration with the EU of those countries that have still not joined it.