The President of the Republic of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski, had a telephone conversation today with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel.
In the conversation, President Pendarovski thanked for the clear and open support from the President of the European Council Michel for the decision to open accession talks for North Macedonia’s membership in the European Union, noting that with such an act the Union, in exceptional circumstances, confirmed that the place of the Western Balkan countries is in the common European family.
Moreover, President Pendarovski expressed interest in the dynamics of preparation and adoption of the negotiating framework for our country and the time frame for holding the first intergovernmental conference. President Pendarovski expressed understanding for the postponement of the EU-Western Balkans Summit to be held in Zagreb on May 7, stressing that tackling the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic is an absolute priority for all countries. However, he expressed hope that the pace of work and decision-making will be maintained through new technical modalities such as video conferences, in the interests of the European Union and the Western Balkans.
The interlocutors exchanged information on the situation in the Union and in our country, related to dealing with the consequences of the spread of COVID-19. President Pendarovski briefed the European Council President Michel on the measures and activities taken by the relevant institutions in dealing with the consequences of the pandemic, as well as the expected challenges that the country will face in the coming period in dealing with the consequences of the epidemic.
President Pendarovski thanked for the assistance provided by the European Union through the EU funds as well as at the bilateral level that member states donate in medical and protective equipment.
It was concluded that despite the fact that the European Union is a key trade and economic partner of our country, since the beginning of the pandemic, the Union has provided significant financial assistance. So far, the support is about 69 million EUR, of which 4 million for urgent support for the health system, 3 million direct budget support, 12 million for the private sector and 50 million for economic assistance, aimed at socio-economic recovery of the country due to the consequences of the coronavirus epidemic.
In the telephone conversation, President Pendarovski expressed solidarity with the largest member states of the Union, which are most affected by the pandemic, and expressed hope that with solidarity and close cooperation on the European continent, this battle will be won, as well as tackling the challenges brought by the global health, economic and social crisis caused by COVID-19.