President Stevo Pendarovski participated today in the international conference “Prespa Forum Dialogue” and addressed the high-level plenary session on: “Resetting the EU-US Synergy towards the Western Balkans”.
“The political will to establish a new synergy is not an issue at all, but we are talking about the international interests of the actors involved – the political will of Brussels, the EU member states, the national interests of the United States and, of course, the national interests of the six Western Balkan countries”, the President said.
The President also pointed out the need for greater partnership and cooperation.
“We will not see a synergy between the two parts of the transatlantic community that is as important to us as it was in the 1990s. This means that most of the responsibility will remain on the shoulders of regional political leaders. It is known that the so-called “Brussels-Washington and the regional capitals have always been a triangle of success for any breakthrough in the positive direction of the Western Balkans”, the President said in his address.
The President, speaking on the main topical issues, stressed that the European Union is not capable of leading alone, and the United States would not want to lead alone, while regional elites, President Pendarovski said, are not interested and would not want to make a thorough change in societies.
“The final result is that the Western Balkans, especially in the last decade, lag behind the European Union in economic terms even more than in the previous decade, and the decline of all democratic indicators is evident. In a democratic sense, the Western Balkans are further back than they were 15 or 10 years ago, and the Western Balkans have a population of 18 million on paper, and in reality there are 4 million less”, President Pendarovski said.
He spoke about the reforms and the happiness of the people in the region and their desire to see progress in their societies.
“We would like to slow down the negative processes that are causing emptiness of the region, because the smartest, the youngest, the most dynamic force is leaving the region and we will essentially have no one to rely on in real life to see real progress in our economies. Therefore, help us, help the people who live in this region, it is time for a reset”, President Pendarovski said in his address.
The plenary session was attended by the President of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic, the President of the Republic of Slovenia. Slovenia, Borut Pahor, the US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Philip Reeker, the EU Commissioner for Budget and Administration, Johannes Hahn, the French Senator, Alain Richard, and Secretary General of the Community of Democracies, Thomas Garrett.