President Stevo Pendarovski, today as part of his official visit to the Czech Republic, together with the Czech President, Petr Pavel, held a press conference, which was preceded by a tete-a-tete meeting of the presidents and a plenary meeting of the Macedonian and Czech delegations.
Below is the integral text of President Pendarovski’s statement.
Respected media representatives,
Distinguished President Petr Pavel,
Thank you for the invitation and the hospitality. It is a special honor for me to pay my first official visit to the Czech Republic, and on this occasion allow me to personally congratulate you on your election as President.
This is our first meeting as presidents of two countries that have been building close and friendly bilateral relations for more than three decades.
Our peoples have strong historical and cultural ties throughout the centuries and I am confident that you, during your term, will continue to work for the advancement of our friendship.
For years, the Czech Republic has been our significant and proven partner in the United Nations, in the OSCE, and for the last three years in the NATO Alliance.
I especially want to emphasize that the Czech Republic was among the first countries that, in conditions of extremely complex political and security situations, such as the migrant crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic, provided us with concrete support and help since the very first moments.
What we particularly appreciate is the unequivocal and open support of the Macedonian European integration and the accession negotiations that we are conducting, with the aim of implementing all essential reforms and our rapid integration into the European Union.
In that context, I want to thank you for your engagement last year as chairmen of the Council of the Union, but also for all the efforts you make as part of the Visegrad Group, which are of particular interest to us because of the successful model of regional cooperation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We agree with President Pavel that the stability and security of the Western Balkans, as well as its democratic development, depend on its European perspective, which is the reason why the European Union should increase its presence in our region in order to maintain the credibility of the enlargement process.
At our meeting today, we exchanged opinions not only about the internal political situation in both countries, but also about the current challenges facing Europe. Within those frameworks, we discussed the Russian invasion of Ukraine, our cooperation in the NATO alliance, as well as the activities that we, as the OSCE chair, undertake in the view of the overall European security.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In addition to international cooperation and excellent political relations, we were particularly pleased to note that in the last 6, 7 years we have had constant economic progress and increased trade. Therefore, it is imperative that we continue with initiatives that will advance our contractual framework that serves as a platform that enables even better cooperation between Czech and Macedonian businessmen. On this occasion, I especially want to welcome the initiative to establish a Macedonian-Czech business association.
Our expectations are that the energy sector, the transport infrastructure, the IT sector, agriculture, the food industry, as well as environmental protection, should be our common priority in the future, as areas with wide potential for intensifying cooperation.
Thank you once again for the constructive discussions and for the warm and friendly welcome.