Today in Podgorica, Montenegro, President Stevo Pendarovski and Montenegrin President Jakov Milatovic held a joint press conference, in the capacity of presidents of the countries that are the current and next chairs of the South-East European Cooperation Process. The chairmanship of the Republic of North Macedonia with SEESP begins on 1 July 2023.
The integral text of President Pendarovski’s statement is below.
Distinguished President Milatovic,
Respected media representatives,
First of all, let me express a great gratitude to our host, President Milatovic and the whole team, for the commitment during the Montenegrin chairmanship of the South-East European Cooperation Process, and for the warm reception we had here in Podgorica.
We are the next chair of the Process and, on this occasion, let me briefly share with you the priorities of our mandate.
Considering the war in Ukraine, which is undoubtedly a huge challenge for the European continent and beyond, but also the existing challenges arising from the unresolved issues in our region, as future chairmen we will focus on the principles stated in the founding documents of this initiative, which, to a great extent, are still relevant today: good neighborly relations, stability, security and integration of our countries in the European family of free and democratic nations.
The slogan of the Macedonian chairmanship of the Cooperation Process is: “Bridging Divisions, Building Confidence”. I think that in that sense we are quite qualified if you take into account all the agreements and compromises we have made inside the country, but also with our neighbors in order to advance towards Europe.
During our chairmanship, we will make every effort, through dialogue, mutual understanding and respect, to take advantage of all opportunities and achieve greater regional stability and prosperity.
The rule of law, the promotion of human freedoms and rights, and especially the fight against corruption will be among the priorities of our agenda, as well as the energy security of Southeast Europe, trans-European transport corridors and cultural exchange between nations.
A key prerequisite for progress and democracy in the region is its integration into the European Union, and in that context I would like to welcome the recent statement of the President of the European Commission on the new Development Plan for the Western Balkans, where the main commitment is for the future members of the Union to feel a part from the benefits of membership even before they formally become members.
Once again, a great gratitude to our hosts, and to all our colleagues.
See you next year in Skopje.