President Pendarovski in Podgorica addresses the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the SEECP member countries

27 June 2023 | Press Releases

Today in Podgorica, Montenegro, President Stevo Pendarovski addressed the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the member countries of the South East Europe Cooperation Process (SEECP).

In his address, President Pendarovski expressed his gratitude to Montenegro for the efforts made in the past year during their SEECP chairmanship and announced the priorities of the Macedonian chairmanship of this initiative. The President said that, as Chairmen, we will be guided by the principles stated in the 1996 founding documents, i.e. good neighborly relations, stability, security, cooperation in SEE and integration in the Euro-Atlantic community of free and democratic nations. He pointed out that these principles are as relevant today as they were two decades ago and recalled that significant progress has been made since then in terms of political and economic cooperation, as evidenced by the implementation of the SEE 2030 Strategy and the establishment of the Common Regional Market.

In his address, President Pendarovski presented the slogan “Bridging Divisions, Building Confidence” as the leading theme for the Macedonian presidency, with a special focus on reconciliation, regional cooperation and acceleration of Euro-Atlantic integration.

President Pendarovski, noting the ethnic tensions in the region, which are easily used by external actors, as well as the decline of Euro-enthusiasm, said that it is essential to make every effort to oppose such tendencies through dialogue and seeking mutually acceptable solutions with understanding and respect for each other.

He stressed that North Macedonia is dedicatedly following this path, as shown by the Ohrid Framework Agreement, the Prespa Agreement, the Good Neighbor Agreement with the Republic of Bulgaria and the approval of the EU negotiating framework last July, which allowed us to open accession negotiations.

Moreover, speaking in the context of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, he emphasized the urgency of integrating the Western Balkans region into the EU and expressed the expectation of support from the EU member states to ensure tangible benefits, including access to EU funds in the respective areas throughout the process, not waiting for its completion.

In this context, President Pendarovski expressed satisfaction with the recent announcement by the President of the European Commission on the new Growth Plan for the Western Balkans, which he said is fully in line with our request to get a certain advantage from EU membership, before formal membership.

The President said in his address that improving energy security in SEE, building trans-European transport corridors and promoting cultural exchanges would also rank high on our list of priorities, which he expressed confidence would serve the broader efforts of our platform and will sustain the prosperity of the entire region.

Today, starting at 1:00 p.m., President Pendarovski will hold a joint press conference with Montenegrin President Jakov Milatovic, in the capacity of presidents of the countries that are the current and next Chairman of the SEECP.





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