Western Balkan leaders unanimously agree that North Macedonia deserves to open EU accession negotiations and that any other decision will be very negative for the region, government press office said.
“In regard to the question of the future of the Balkans, I have a positive answer: The Balkan region is moving in the right direction, which is the direction that leads to the EU and NATO. The Balkans is an integral part of Europe and is changing its image as being powder keg and a place where political crises are generated,” Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said addressing the debate on future of Western Balkans Euro-Atlantic integration organised by the Nizami Ganjavi International Center in New York on the sidelines of 74th UN General Assembly.
Current and former political leaders of the region including Bulgarian FM Ekaterina Zakharieva, former Bulgarian presidents Rosen Plevneliev and Petar Stoyanov, former Croatian PM Jadranka Kosor and President Ivo Josipovic and former Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina Zlatko Lagumdzija attended the debate.
PM Zaev said that good neighbourly relations and regional cooperation are a common priority and strategic goal of all countries in the region, as a necessity to achieve the ambitions for EU and NATO integration.
“We have decided that it is time to unite around the fact that history is an important part of our identities, but history can never take the place of our future. It was a driving force for the Government of North Macedonia to resolve bilateral disputes with Bulgaria in 2017 and with Greece in 2018, despite criticism from the opposition,” Zaev said. He also underlined that North Macedonia has no open issues with its neigbours thus making it a unique country in the region from this perspective.