Theresa May, the first UK prime minister to visit Macedonia in almost two decades, said that Macedonia is an integral part of Europe and pledged support for Macedonia’s integration into the European Union.
May, who was greeted with full honours at the Government said in regards to the name dispute, that it was important that Macedonia had reached out to its neighbor, but decisions require strong political willingness and courage.
“I know that conflicts of the past can sometimes seem almost impossible to overcome. Many difficult questions remain unresolved – including internal conflicts in the region, serious and organized crime, illegal migration and extremism. We must be alive to the challenges of the past, yet remain ambitious in securing the peaceful, prosperous and democratic future that your citizens and communities deserve”, said Prime Minister May.
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev described the visit as the peak of the long-standing partnership between the two countries, and at the next summit in London, he expects European leaders to verify the progress made by Macedonia. He returned from Sofia full of optimism.
“One thing is for certain, the friendship between Macedonia and Greece will grow and there is no escaping that. Trust has been built. Citizens are cooperating, institutions will cooperate and that will continue to be the case. I sincerely believe that we can find a solution, an option that would be acceptable to both sides is the complete solution. At this time, consultations are ongoing in both countries”, Zaev said.
This afternoon, Prime Minister May met with the Parliament Speaker, Talat Xhaferi, and expressed support for the reforms, stressing that she acknowledged that Macedonian Parliament had witnessed a difficult time last year. May also noted that she is aware of the significant changes that have taken place since then.
“I am proud that the United Kingdom supports these reforms through our funding programs. When democracy rules, the benefits are felt by everyone – a stronger Parliament means a stronger Macedonia”, said May, who also had a meeting with VMRO-DPMNE opposition leader Kristijan Mickoski.