President Stevo Pendarovski held a joint press conference with the Presidents of the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Croatia, Natasha Pirc Musar and Zoran Milanović, after the meeting of the leaders of the countries participating in the Brdo-Brijuni Process in Skopje.
Below is the full text of President Pendarovski’s statement.
Dear President of Slovenia,
Dear President of Croatia,
Dear representatives of the media,
This is a significant day for us, because today we have the honor of hosting the Presidents of the countries participating in the Brdo-Brijuni process, which is the only mechanism for cooperation in the region at the level of heads of state.
First of all, I wish to thank the traditional co-hosts, the Presidents of Slovenia and Croatia – my colleagues and friends Natasha and Zoran, who, as leaders of the Brdo-Brijuni Process, advocate the interests of our region, especially within the European Union.
Of course, thanks also to the Presidents of Serbia, Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro, as well as to the Chairman and two members of the Presidentcy of Bosnia and Herzegovina for their participation and contribution to this meeting, which took place in a constructive atmosphere and during which we confirmed the importance of the regional cooperation that must be based on honest and open dialogue.
The first topic of today’s meeting was the number one priority for the countries of the Western Balkans, namely their European aspirations. The desire for membership in the European Union, without exception, present in all countries that are part of this forum, is a significant factor that motivates and connects us. In that context, it is clear to all of us that we need to achieve European standards of good governance and a functioning market economy.
Stability and prosperity in the region are interdependent. That is why it is more than necessary to talk openly about the most difficult issues, to look for sustainable solutions and to close open issues. Also, with joint efforts, we must ensure that the Western Balkans return fully to the European agenda and stay there.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
There is no doubt that the future, not only of our region, but also of the world, will be defined by the biggest global challenge, which is climate change. This year’s forest fires and floods in the region and in Europe are indicators of what kind of future awaits us. Extreme weather conditions will be more intense and heat waves, droughts and fires, storms and floods will become more frequent.
Therefore, policies related to climate change, whose potential exceeds the capacities of each individual state, emerged as an important topic of discussion at this meeting. In that sense, we all agree that we must strengthen our efforts in this global race against time, by bringing solutions that will mitigate the negative consequences of climate change, and include social, political and regional solidarity.
My colleagues and I also talked about, without hesitation, the biggest challenge for the region – the emigration of young people. The common conclusion of all those present was that if we do not stand in the way of this trend and if it is not slowed down with concrete policies, a much worse future awaits us than the one that we can currently anticipate. Our common message is to redouble bilateral and regional efforts to create prospects for young people to stay in the region and realize themselves in their countries.
Finally, let me express my satisfaction that at today’s meeting we managed to harmonize the text and adopt the Skopje Declaration, which contains the joint findings and commitments of all nine Presidents regarding the topics that were the subject of today’s discussion.