Optimism in the region due to Merkel’s visit

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The presence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel at meeting in Dubrovnik to hear leaders is a good news for the region. The meeting that at the end of August in Berlin Merkel announced as well as the summit “Bardo – Brioni process” in Dubrovnik, the preparation and introducing Merkel with views of the leaders of the Western Balkans, is confirmation of the return of interest of Germany for region, inform from the Cabinet of Macedonian President Gjorgje Ivanov.

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The key conclusions that are expected to emerge from the meeting with Merkel, as MIA reporter informs are promoting, encouraging and strengthening the advanced form of cooperation of the EU with the region, which will help the final political and economic consolidation of the region within the expanding Union.

As pointed out by Ivanov’s office, this means that all existing regional mechanisms in certain ways did the work (such as SEECP), there is no room for declarative statements and we need advanced stage of cooperation that will derive concrete results, something is pretending the “Brdo Brioni process”, starting last year with Hollande and now with Merkel. It requires final consolidation of the region, political and economic expansion within.

Zagreb and Ljubljana, as brief from the cabinet of the Macedonian president, as EU members, have full confidence and are fully committed to working on these issues with the Union and its neighbors.

This, they added, in a way, Croatia and Slovenia take major workload for support and for EU projects.

It is noted the situation of countries in relation to the EU, for Macedonia is expressed hope that the European Council will decide on accession negotiations, given the power of parallel motion integration and overcoming bilateral differences, something that Macedonia is continuously looking for.

From the Ivanov’s office inform that they do not run away from internal reforms necessary for meeting the obligations, which means, reaffirming the commitment for continuing internal reforms and setting full recovery and opening of societies for better cooperation on all issues of common interest. Good governance, economic development, rule of law, and zero tolerance of corruption are central tasks. Special attention should be paid to the unacceptable rate of unemployment, especially for young people.

For the moment being these are the most important and specific requirements to be accepted that poor infrastructure in the region is serious impediment to economic growth for the free movement of people, ideas, and capital. This affects not only the region, but also Europe.

Key projects such as the finalization of the Adriatic-Ionian highway and railway Munich, Istanbul through Ljubljana, Zagreb and Belgrade is European project from all aspects. Planning, financing and construction. All stages will be discussed, agreed, and built together with the EU. This project, according to Ivanov’s office will help link of the region to EU. So, ranked as first in importance is Adriatic-Ionian highway, which is priority for us, because the only way Corridor 8 will have an economic logic and viability for us. If we connect with this highway we will certainly increase the competitiveness of the Macedonian economy and attractiveness to foreign investors, something that Ivanov spoke and suggested at the beginning of the first term, and which has now become essential infrastructure requirements of the region.

Cabinet of Macedonian president say that we should encourage the European Commission to speed the planning of transport and energy infrastructure, including the Western Balkans as integral part of the European map.

They add that regional projects should be supported in order to open the southern pipeline transmission of natural gas, while it will mean security protection of the region.

Considering all these interests, the Western Balkans are urging the EU Council to organize the EU-Western Balkans Summit, which will set out the obligations, opportunities and plans for full integration of the region.

The most important political request to Merkel as brief from Ivanov’s office, is to organize this and derive from it clear road map for expansion. Essentially, they say, because so far, there was no strategic, but at any debate on the Western Balkans to the European Council at all.

This topic will be discussed with the Italian EU presidency too, so it will enter in the procedure.

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