Plomp: The effective progress of the Western Balkans to the EU is of strategic importance


The Ambassador of the Netherlands in Macedonia, Wouter Plomp, presented MPs today the priorities of the Netherlands presidency of the EU Council.

The session was attended by Members of the National Council for European Integration, the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee and the Macedonia-EU Mixed Parliamentary Committee were also present at the session

In his speech Ambassador Plomp gave a short presentation of the Presidency, which is built upon three basic principles: a Union that focuses on essentials, a Union that creates innovative growth and jobs, and a Union that connects with society.

“We will strive for an EU that focuses on things that matter most to the citizens, and with a long term in mind. This means economic growth through innovation and reform, creation of jobs and investing in a sustainable future” – said Ambassador Plomp and added that the four key priorities of the presidency will be  a comprehensive approach to migration and international security; Europe as an innovator and job creator, sound and future-proof European finances; and a forward-looking policy on climate change and energy issues.
Ambassador Plomp pointed out that the Netherlands is taking over the presidency in very difficult times that can only be overcome with a joint effort of all countries, including the countries that are candidates for membership, whose role in overcoming the refugee crisis is crucial.

With regards to the enlargement, Ambassador Plomp referred to the Trio Program of the Netherlands, Slovakia and Malta, according to which the credibility of the enlargement process is of great importance.

“Effective progress of the Western Balkans region towards the EU remains strategically important. Rule of law, fundamental rights, fighting against corruption, economic criteria and public administration reform are the benchmarks against which progress is measured and the countries themselves have the responsibility to meet the conditions they have committed themselves to.” He pointed out.

At the end he stated that in line with the motto of the Netherlands presidency – “Making connections”, the Netherlands will continue to strengthen the relations with Macedonia through business support tools, fostering more Dutch investment in Macedonia, cultural cooperation and promoting tourism in a sustainable manner, “because it is by listening and opening up to each other that we can make connections and make Europe a better place”.

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