President Stevo Pendarovski welcomed today, with the highest state and military honors, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is paying an official visit to the Republic of North Macedonia.
As part of the visit, in addition to the tete-a-tete meeting, a plenary meeting of the official delegations of North Macedonia and Germany was held, after which Presidents Pendarovski and Steinmeier held a joint press conference.
Below is the full text of President Pendarovski’s statement:
Distinguished President Steinmeier,
Dear media representatives,
Today we have the great honor, after almost a decade and a half, to host a German president who is paying an official visit. On this occasion, I would like to remind you that it was not by chance that I made my first official bilateral visit as president to Germany. This exchange of visits at the highest state level says a lot about the relations between the two countries and the friendship between our peoples, which in the past period reached a high level and, apart from the political, had its own positive reflection in the development of economic relations.
This visit also has its own added value, because it takes place at a time of major geo-political turbulence, when there is a war on European soil that causes a series of crises that spill over, with each country trying to provide its citizens with security, safety and prosperity. On the other hand, what is particularly significant for us, this visit takes place in the year when we finally, after many delays, started the negotiations with the European Union and when we need support to speed up that process.
At a time when faith in European integration in the entire region is shaken, in this sensitive period, we need help from the great European democracies, from the leaders of the idea of a united continent.
The Federal Republic of Germany is one of our closest allies and most reliable partners, and the German authorities have continuously demonstrated their commitment to our country and our region for three decades.
Therefore, President Steinmeier, on my own behalf and on behalf of the citizens of North Macedonia, I thank you for this visit, which I believe will leave a strong mark on our relations and open new chapters for cooperation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the meeting, which took place in an extremely friendly and positive atmosphere, my German colleague and I discussed our bilateral relations, the partnership in NATO, Macedonian European integration, mutual economic ties, cultural and educational cooperation, but also issues related to wider European stability and security.
On this occasion, I emphasized that we are fully committed to the first stages of the negotiations with the European Union because the membership in the Union remains our long-term strategic determination on which we will continue to work with undiminished intensity. In this context, the unequivocal support we receive from Germany is of great importance for us, especially within the framework of the renewed Berlin process, in which Germany plays a key role.
We discussed the security situation in Europe and the various challenges in that regard, in the context of the war in Ukraine. We have committed ourselves to the promotion of cooperation in defense and security, which are important aspects in our bilateral relations.
In the field of the economy, Germany remains our most important economic partner, which has been on the first place on the list for years, with a trade exchange of more than EUR 4 billion annually. The German economic portfolio in North Macedonia is impressive, with around 200 companies with German capital, employing over 15,000 people. With President Steinmeier, we pledged that the economic exchange and investments between our countries will continue in the future and that these numbers will increase, because they are of great importance for the mutual trust and prosperity of our citizens. No less important are the fields of education, science and culture, where our two countries achieve intensive cooperation.
In conclusion, I will repeat what I said in the talks with the honorable president: thank you for all the German support until now, expressing my conviction that Germany will continue to be our key political and economic partner and that in the years ahead, our friendship and cooperation in areas of mutual interest will further develop.