Distinguished representatives of the media,
Today, I have the honor and pleasure to be the host, for the third time in two years, to the President of the European Council, Mr. Donald Tusk, who is visiting the Republic of Macedonia.
At the very beginning, I wish to express our public gratitude to President Tusk for his leadership and his personal engagement in handling the refugee and migration crisis. He had great understanding for the burden that we bore as a country as regards the migration crisis, and especially its security aspect. He made a personal effort to help us .
President Tusk is a sincere friend of the Republic of Macedonia and a supporter of our European aspirations.
The focus of our meeting was placed on two issues: the threat of illegal migration that Europe is facing, and the political crisis in Macedonia after the December 2016 elections.
With President Tusk, we exchanged views and information on migration corridors, tensions between EU and Turkey, capacities of transit countries, but also the risks on regional stability stemming from the permanent threat of a migrant wave from Africa and Asia directed towards Europe.
Today's visit also included a classified briefing on the development of scenarios on the basis of the degree of risk from illegal migration and the capacities at our disposal, held by representatives of the Intelligence Agency and the Army of the Republic of Macedonia.
We reaffirmed the position that the Republic of Macedonia is a transit country and that it remains on the positions and demands expressed at the Heads of State and Government held in Brussels in October 2015.
At the meeting, we expressed interest in establishing a legal framework for partnership with the Union regarding three areas. First, border protection; second, counter-terrorism and third, crisis management in conditions of blocked EU integration in the process of shaping the future security and defense architecture of the Union.
I wish to underline that the Republic of Macedonia will continue to protect its national security and the safety of its citizens, as it has been the case so far. At the same time, Macedonia is also the guardian of the gates of Europe, and for more than 19 months, it has been controlling the access to the fastest migrant corridor that leads to Europe.
My message to the European Union is clear: help us, in order for us to help you. By helping Macedonia, you are helping yourself.
With President Tusk, we discussed and exchanged opinions on the current political situation in the Republic of Macedonia.
I informed him in detail about my constitutional competences as President of the Republic of Macedonia, as well as with the practice established in 1992 for giving the mandate and establishment of a new government.
On this occasion, I wish to once again convey a clear message. The legal and the political obstacle must be eliminated. The purpose of both conditions is for the new government not to be contested by any party and on any basis. My decision is preventive and serves to prevent any detrimental consequences we might encounter. A blackmailed government means an unstable government with a short life span and negative consequences.
Let me remind you that the European Union is a guarantor of two agreements only - the Ohrid Framework Agreement and the 2015 Agreement.
Therefore, it should be imperative to political leaders to implement urgent reform priorities. The first item on the agenda of political parties and members of the Assembly should be EU-related reforms, and not the implementation of a post election platform created in foreign countries. A platform that jeopardizes the independence of the country; that conditions the establishment of a parliamentary majority, disturbs good neighborly relations by direct interference in the internal affairs of the Republic of Macedonia, incites tensions in interethnic relations, manipulates the citizens with issues outside of the framework agreement and asks for an amendment to the Constitution. Therefore, what the Republic of Macedonia needs are European reforms, and not foreign platforms.
As a country, we must stay focused on European reforms. That would be the only way to root out the causes of these political crises. This is not a challenge only for us, but for a large part of this region. This is also why I believe that the European Union should find a way to open Chapters 23 and 24 covering the areas of judiciary, fundamental rights, justice, freedom and security, for all candidate countries and potential candidate countries from the region.
And in order to prevent a blockade of these processes, the European Union should find a way to avoid taking advantage of the accession process for blackmail in the resolution of bilateral issues. The blockade of Republic of Macedonia's European integration process must end as soon as possible.
At the very end, I wish to thank President Tusk once again for his understanding, engagement and support.