Lavrov: The EU is passive in regards to the Tirana platform and the violation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement

Belgrade, 22 February, 2018 - 16:02 (META) 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, at a joint press conference with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, reiterated Macedonia yesterday, stating that Moscow is “concerned about the EU’s passivity with regard to the initiative coming from Tirana about the “Tirana platform” which, as he said, is “an explicit call for creating a Greater Albania”.

“There are enough examples which give us cause for concern. Most recently, when parliamentary elections were held in Macedonia, the chairman of the parliament, once elected to this post, entered his office and put an Albanian flag on his desk. In Macedonia! The other day, Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama proudly announced that it was he who, from Albania, initiated a draft law in the Macedonian parliament that gives the Albanian language the status of the state language”, said Lavrov answering a journalist’s question at a press conference with Vucic, during his official visit to Serbia.

In this way, said the Russian Foreign Minister, the Ohrid Framework Agreement was abrogated “which everyone took with a sigh of relief and which created a basis for overcoming the crisis in Macedonia many years ago.”

“If someone tries to erode these achievements and agreements, then things that it took so much effort to develop as well as agree upon, be it in Macedonia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, or elsewhere in western Balkans, will be lost. I believe we have every reason to ask the European Union to report back to us on how it fulfills its own decisions and to what extent it is up to the credit of trust that the international community has given it”, stated Lavrov.

Russian MFA on Strategy for the Western Balkans: Our principle is not “with us or against us”

Moscow, 9 February, 2018 - 12:55 (META) 

Russia sees no obstacles in developing relations with countries that want to become members of the European Union, and does not approach them with the principle “with us or against us,” said a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zaharova when she was asked to comment on the European Commission’s Strategy for EU Enlargement with countries from the Western Balkans, including Macedonia.

Zakharova did not want to comment on the Strategy, pointing out that they, “should study it first” and then “share its conclusions”.

“As far as our relations with both the Western Balkan countries and the European Union countries are concerned, they are of fundamental importance to us. We are developing relations with these countries, as well as with the integrative associations in which they belong”, said Zakharova, answering a question regarding how the Russian MFA assesses the European Commission’s Strategy and what impact it will have on Moscow’s relations with the countries of this region and with the European Union.

She pointed out that Russia’s position has always been clear on this issue.

“We, of course, set off from EU membership and the respective obligations of the countries of the Union, and we strive for harmonious development in several directions, both in the bilateral format and in the format of the Union. As far as those non-EU members are concerned and looking at their membership or closer interaction with the European Union, we see no obstacles in developing relations with them and we never force the question “you are with us or against us.” We are always for the harmonization of these relationships. We believe that practice and experience show that such a way is possible”, said Zakharova.

Žbogar: The negotiations with Greece are promising and we are hoping for a happy ending

Skopje, 6 February, 2018 - 17:19 (META) 

The good neighborly relations are one of the principles of the European Union and all bilateral issues of the countries have to be resolved before their accession in the EU, stressed today the Head of the EU’s delegation in Macedonia, Samuel Žbogar after the presentation of European Commission’s Western Balkan Strategy in Strasburg.

-The government began the negotiations with Greece. That is encouraging and it’s good to have a dialogue. We are hoping that the process will have a happy ending. We are part of the negotiations that are led under the supervision of the United Nation. but we are encouraging both sides to reach a solution – said the Euro Ambassador, who also said that the Agreement with Bulgaria is very important because Macedonia after its signing has a great friend in the EU.

He stressed that 2018 is a key year because it is the last from Commissioner Johannes Hahn’s mandate, because Bulgaria and Austria are presiding with the Union and because neither Macedonia nor Greece don’t have elections and the politicians can easily make their decisions.

According to him, the year of 2025 as an enlargement date is very ambitious, but a potential date and he also said that it all depends on the countries on basis of their merits.

Tusk: The Balkans’ history is more dramatic than the Game of Thrones series even though there aren’t any dragons there

Sofia, 12 January, 2018 - 13:28 (META) 

The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk looks upon the history of the Balkans as more dramatic and more interesting than the popular TV series Game of Thrones.

At the inauguration of the Bulgarian EU presidency in Sofia, he warned against the Game of Thrones screenplay happening in the Western Balkans, where Brussels is trying to maintain tight connections with the countries that want to join the EU.

“The history of the Balkans is more dramatic and interesting than the screenplay of ‘Game of Thrones’, even if there are no dragons in it. We would all like it if the present and future of the Balkans were less like dramatic screenplays. Stability, security, prosperity — this is what the people of the whole region deserve. And the EU’s purpose is to help make this screenplay a reality” said Tusk.

The Cyrillic alphabet, traditional embroidery and the national tricolor in the logo of the Bulgarian presidency with EU

Sofia, 2 January, 2018 - 12:36 (META) 

Bulgaria, which took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union presented the logo under which it will lead the Union in the forthcoming 6 months.

As stated on the official Twitter profile created for this purpose, the logo depicts three symbols that represent the Bulgarian identity -the Cyrillic Alphabet, traditional embroidery and the national tricolor.

“The logo reflects the idea that Bulgaria is an integral part of Europe and at the same time unique among the other countries in the Community.”

The artist Todor Angeliev is the author, and his design was selected by a professional jury guided by the idea of an original and innovative author’s design.

“The visual identity of the Bulgarian Presidency is in the colours of the European Union. The elements are borrowed from the stars in the flag of the Union. The authors are a team of artists from the National Academy of Fine Arts – Svetlin Balezdrov, Nenko Atanasov and Milena Abanos. Consultants: Prof. Georgi Yankov and Assoc. Prof. Miroslav Bogdanov.” states the information regarding the Bulgarian presidential logo.

Siyarto: We want EU in February to set a date for starting the negotiations with Macedonia

Skopje, 18 December, 2017 - 14:05 (META) 

The next NATO summitt is unthinkable without the issue of expansion, and we want the EU to set a date in February about starting the negoations with Macedonia, said today the Minister of Foreign PAffairs and Trade of Hungary, Peter Siyarto during the joint press conference with the Head of the Macedonian diplomacy.

-Hungary will continue to provide its support to Macedonia and the countries of Western Balkans and it knows the difference. We know the difference between a calm situation in the region and its opposite. We want this region to be peaceful, we want the Western Balkans to be a source and an asset for a further European development, instead of risk for Europe. The conditions int he Western Balkans can be surpassed with its integration in EU and NATO. We know that Macedonia and the Macedonian nation have already done a lot in order to integrate into EU and NATO and Hungary remains its outspoken supporter for the efforts for Macedonia’s integration into EU and NATO. We would like the enlargement to be a part of the daily agenda on the next NATO summit, said Siyarto.

Dimitrov expressed his gratitude for Hungary’s support for Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic integrations and stressed that the new government in a very short time has managed to improve the quality of the relations with the international partners, especially with the member countries of the EU.

-It took a very short time to breathe new quality into the relations with the EU. I introduced the minister with our good neighborly policy and our investment in the good relations with the neighbors. We are determined to do everything we can not to miss the next train to Europe that is opening up in 2018, said Dimitrov.

Žbogar: Luck is on the side of the brave people, but we have to be patient and see what happens

Skopje, 17 December, 2017 - 12:37 (META) 

The European Union sees the goodwill on both sides regarding the solving of the name dispute between Greece and Macedonia, said the Europ Ambassador Samuel Žbogar in the interview for “TV 24” and said that the improved atmosphere will ease the dealing with this sensitive issue.

-I understand the emotions around this issue, including the worries and the frustration about this dispute. But, you have to ask yourself, the way this was dealt in the past, did it make the country better? Did it progress the state? If the answer is “No” then now at least is the opportunity to try to solve the problem. It is a chance because among the member countries there is an excitement that maybe we can move this country forward because we see engagement and readiness on part of Greece, we see a better atmosphere, and we see this window next year when there will not be any elections, and maybe this will help to concentrate on this issue – said Žbogar for TV 24.

In the interview, the Euro-Ambassador stressed that it is always good to be an optimist than being depressed and to say there is nothing you can do. In the context of that, he said that the Government looks ready to engage in talks regardless if there are no guarantees they will be successful.

-Luck is on the side of the brave people, so I think we should be patient and to see. So far, we had one meeting, and we will have to wait to see what will come out of that – said Žbogar.

This is the beginning of a wonderful friendship, Juncker told Zaev

Brussels, 6 December, 2017 - 17:57 (META) 

We are very pleased with the work the Prime Minister has done so far, and even though this is our first meeting, I know that this is a start of a wonderful friendship, said today in Brussels the President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker during the joint press conference with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and the EU Commissioner, Johannes Hahn.

-We want to encourage FYROM to continue on the way it embarked on. The progress is significant and I want to say that what we think of especially important are the relations with the neighbors including the meetings with Greece that will take place this month – said Juncker, and he also stressed that he expects the reformatory processes to continue especially with the reforms in the intelligence services, judiciary, and the public administration.

Juncker stressed that all of the countries in the Western Balkans have a European perspective and that in the next 8 to 9 months they will decide how they will continue with each of them in the process, depending on the achieved results.

Zaev: We are in Brussels to convince the EC that we deserve a recommendation for negotiations in 2018

Skopje, 5 December, 2017 - 18:35 (META) 

We have come with arguments, positive developments have been created after the long, delayed process of our EU integration, stated Prime Minister Zoran Zaev via the social network “Twitter” at the start of his two-day visit to Brussels.

He points out that the Government will continue to implement the reforms and the will of the people, but also to persuade Brussels to give a recommendation for the start of pre-accession negotiations with the EU as early as next year.

“We continue to deliver results with strong commitment and undoubted political will, in the interest of the people. We are here to show how prepared Macedonia is and persuade the European Commission to make a decision to start negotiations for our country in the first half of 2018”, wrote Zaev on Twitter.


Zaev-Borisov: We are activating the motor that will push te region forward

Strumica, 23 November, 2017 - 16:45 (META) 

The joint session between the governments of Bulgaria and Macedonia was fruitful, said Prime Minister Zoran Zaev at the joint press conference with his Bulgarian colleague, Bojko Borisov in Strumica. He said that with today’s session “one of the motors that will push the whole region forward was activated.”

Zaev stressed that at the session they were talking about deepening of the economic cooperation including the cooperation in the domain of energetics and the infrastructure and the international cooperation. He said that they were also talking about the building of the Corridor 8 and the possibility of connecting both countries with a gas distribution and the whole region as well.

-A joint declaration was approved today where all of our efforts for improving the cooperation in all spheres is evidenced. With this declaration we are confirming the wish for strengthening the relations in all domains, to build trust and mutual respect and understanding – said Zaev, who also said that the good neighborly relations are the foundation for the stability of the Southeastern Europe.

The Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov stressed the support for Macedonia regarding the EU and NATO accession.