The President of the Republic of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski, addressed in Veles the informal gathering of participants at the Third Think Tank Forum “Stimulating Strategic Autonomy – Western Balkans’ Contribution to the Common European Future”, held in Skopje, March 8 – 10.

At the gathering, attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria, Ekaterina Zaharieva, President Pendarovski voiced support for the activities of think tanks in the Western Balkans and their efforts to move the region forward.

According to President Pendarovski, besides fulfilling the reform agenda in favor of the European integration process, the time has come for the countries of the region to contribute to the common European policies and strategies.

At the gathering, President Pendarovski stressed the importance of the Prespa Agreement and the Agreement on Good Neighborly Relations and Cooperation with Bulgaria, both for the signatory countries and for the entire region. Both Agreements, according to President Pendarovski, are a strong contribution to the future of the region.

The European integration, according to President Pendarovski, starts with us, by respecting the European values, the fight against corruption, the rule of law, the freedom of speech and democracy.

President Pendarovski reaffirmed the expectation that the new methodology for conducting accession negotiations would be adopted soon and a decision would be made on the start of the accession negotiations with the EU.

We do not deserve any further delays, President Pendarovski said. Any subsequent delay could lead to a significant decline in the Euro-enthusiasm in the country, President Pendarovski said.

President Pendarovski wished the participants of the Think Tank Forum, organized by the Societas Civilis Institute for Democracy and the Sofia European External Relations Office, and the co-chairmanship of North Macedonia and Bulgaria with the Berlin Process in 2020, successful work and productive debate.