President Stevo Pendarovski participated in the 20th high-level meeting organized by the Nizami Ganjavi International Center in New York, which took place on the sidelines of the 76th General Assembly of the United Nations. The President addressed the topic: What do peace and stability mean in the 21st century? within the session: Special Address: Peace and Stability: The Future of the Western Balkans.
At the beginning of his address, the President spoke about the experiences of the countries in the Western Balkan region after the fall of communism, noting that for a number of objective reasons, such as the conflicts in former Yugoslavia, economic devastation, numerous open issues, no country in the region can be considered the leader of the post-communist period in Europe.
On this occasion, the President referred to the experiences of the Republic of North Macedonia, emphasizing the compromises made with the neighbors, NATO membership and the country’s commitment to European Union integration.
At the same time, President Pendarovski stated that maintaining the perspective of membership in the European Union is the key driver for reforms, not only in our country but also in the Western Balkans, while membership itself – key to ensuring long-term stability, peace and prosperity in the region.
In this regard, describing the evident stagnation in the integration processes of all Western Balkan countries in the past few years, President Pendarovski expressed concern and warned that the uncertainty in this regard could significantly affect peace and stability in the region. At the same time, the President underlined that the result of the current stalemate is the slow pace of reform and the rise of Euro-skepticism in all Western Balkan countries.
In addition, in his address, the President stressed the importance of relations between the European Union and the United States, when talking about peace and stability in the Western Balkans, noting that whenever the relationship between the EU and the United States was good and strong, then the benefits for the region, Europe and the Euro-Atlantic region as a whole were evident.
In the concluding part of his address, President Pendarovski stressed that the future of the Western Balkans is in the European Union and that the European Union should keep the door open not only because of the need for serious results in terms of European criteria for democracy, rule of law, fight against corruption, but also because of the possibility of using the possible vacuum by external factors, which promote geopolitical concepts, which are not based on the general European values.