In Sofia, before the start of the EU-Western Balkans Summit, the prime ministers of Macedonia and Greece, Zoran Zaev and Alexis Tsipras met in the National Palace of Culture.
According to the Macedonian government and the statements released on Zoran Zaev’s official Facebook page, the name dispute is being discussed at today’s meeting.
“Macedonia and Greece are strengthening their friendship. Together with Prime Minister Tsipras, we believe that we can find a solution that protects the dignity of the citizens in both countries”, wrote Zaev, repeating the slogan “Committed to solutions, we are fighting for the same Europe.”
French President Emmanuel Macron, arriving at the summit, said France supports the accession of the Balkan countries to the EU, but reforms must be implemented first.
“I support the Balkan movement towards Europe and their accession as future EU members. However, I think we should be very cautious and solid regarding the enlargement process of Europe. We have to help the countries that are reforming and moving towards Europe, this is our strategic choice”, said Macron, pointing out that the EU should not be hasty in its expansion and that candidate countries should first implement the reforms.
In the official part of the program, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev was greeted today by the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, after which he participated in the opening session of the EU-Western Balkan Summit, chaired by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, on behalf of the EU, together with the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.
Zaev will participate in the plenary session on the topic “Connectivity”, and during the working lunch between the heads of state and governments, as well as high representatives of bodies of the European Union, he will speak on the topic “Tackling Common Challenges”.
Zaev is expected to hold meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as the prime ministers of the Netherlands and Austria and Sweden, Mark Rutte, Sebastian Kurz and Stephan Löfven.
The leaders of the participating countries at the EU-Western Balkans Summit are expected to adopt the Sofia Declaration on the Western Balkans to the EU, as well as what is known as the Sofia Priority Agenda, which contains specific projects that will be supported by the EU, in order to meet the set goals of the declaration targeted towards the strengthening of the rule of law and democratic institutions in the countries of the Western Balkans, the fight against organized crime, good governance and respect for the rights of minority communities, as well as the strengthening of economic ties between the countries of the region, and the EU.