If the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 was a turning point because it developed Europe’s ability to live with religious diversity, the Prespa Agreement is a turning point for our region, said the Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev at the International Peace Prize of Westphalia award ceremony. Zaev together with Tsipras today received the International Peace Prize of Westphalia in German city of Münster.
International Peace Prize of Westphalia pays tribute to individuals or representatives of countries and groups that are particularly committed to European integration and peace in Europe, informed the government’s press service.
In his address at the award ceremony, Zaev said that it is a great honor and privilege that his, and the name of his friend Alexis Tsipras, will be added to the long list of winners of this award, alongside renowned names such as next to Václav Havel, Helmut Kohl, Valéry Giscar d’Estaing, Kofi Annan, Helmut Schmidt, the crews of the International space station, the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and others.
Prime Minister Zaev said that just as the Westphalia Peace Treate, in matter of fact, does not really speak about peace, but for friendship between its signatories, so that is what Prespa Agreement of June 17, 2018 also stands.
With this agreement, said Zaev, we put an end to a dispute and a long-lasting difference that raised a wall, making the neighborly relations between North Macedonia and Greece difficult and blocked perspectives that are of key strategic interest for our country, for the region and Euro-Atlantic structures.
“The future was the guiding idea throughout the process. Both sides accepted the compromise as a friendship and as a concern for the interests of your political partner, as well as for your own interests. That friendship was important to create an atmosphere in which we openly discussed all issues even when it seemed that there is no solution”, said Zaev at the award ceremony.
Prime Minister Zaev added that together with his colleague Tsipras they chose to find a solution without delay.
“Both, me and Alexis, are fully aware that we have put our political careers at risk. This firm determination, the willingness to sacrifice our own political careers in the name of the future, connected us and leaded us through the process. We chose to leave solutions like traces behind us. Solutions for our citizens and for our societies. We came to a solution when everyone claimed it was – impossible”, said Zaev.
Former Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in his address said that the International Peace Prize of Westphalia, which he shares with Prime Minister Zaev this year, is an award for the citizens of the two countries who now cooperate and jointly invest in the future of both countries and the region.
Tsipras added that Brussels has an obligation and must fully support the Prespa Agreement and deliver on the promises as North Macedonia has delivered all its obligations related to the EU integration process.