Zaev tells Berlin conference: Macedonia deserves individual assessment over EU accession

Macedonia’s main ambitions in 2018 are the opening of EU accession talks and becoming NATO’s 30th member. I strongly believe Macedonia deserves an individual assessment, said Prime Minister Zoran Zaev at a discussion organized by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) in Berlin on Wednesday.

PM Zaev referred to the deep political crisis in 2015-2016, after the authoritarian regime captured the country and created tensions in the country and with neighbors, the Government said in a press release.

“We have managed to overcome the situation because we were united in protecting our fundamental democratic values and standards. Over this period we committed ourselves to supporting different ethnic groups”, said Zaev.

According to him, the civil society was involved in the process, thus mobilizing citizens to rise in the defence of democratic rights and liberties, and the rule of law.

“The new perspectives have created a system of good governance based on four pillars. Inclusive management is the first pillar, incorporating the commitment to build independent institutions, a rule of law for all and accessible public services. The concept One Society for All is our second pillar, a citizen-based concept of bypassing ethnic divisions. Then come the equal development of the country and good neighborly policy,” Zaev said.

He underlined that citizens in the Balkan region hope for a new generation of transformational leaders who can nurture sustainable peace and stability, develop cooperation and serve the economic interests and well-being of their people.

Minister of State for Europe at the German Federal Foreign Office Michael Roth and FES president  Kurt Beck also took part in the discussion.

Minister Roth affirmed the support to the Western Balkans states in their EU membership aspirations, saying each country needs to be assessed according to individual achievements.

He added that domestic political reforms should be accompanied by economic prosperity and improvement of the living standard, in order to motivate young people to stay in their countries.

FES president Beck highlighted the need for balance between center left and center right forces on the Western Balkans, thus creating an environment where nations can help each other.