Monday, 26 February 2018
Address of President Xhaferi at the 13th COSAP Conference
Ladies and gentlemen,
Distinguished Members of Parliament,
At the very beginning, as a President of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia allow me to express my pleasure that we are hosting the 13th Conference of the Committees on European Integration from the States Covered with the Process of Stabilization and Association of South East Europe – COSAP – a Conference, where the European Perspective of Western Balkan shall be debated. I believe that the timing for the Conference is very good. Yesterday, the President of the European Commission, Mr. Jean Claude Juncker, together with the Commissioner on EU Enlargement, Mr. Johannes Hahn started their Balkan tour from here. Let me remind you that only ten days ago, the Strategy for Credible Perspectives of the Enlargement and Strengthened Engagement of EU for Western Balkans was published in Brussels. The President of the European Union, Mr. Jean Claude Juncker, speaking of the developments in the Union in 2017 said” If we wish for greater stability in our neighbourhood, then we must offer more credible perspective for the enlargement with the Western Balkan states”. Essentially, this statement of Mr. Juncker is a continuity of the European Union policy to the Western Balkan, stipulated at the Thessaloniki Summit in 2003.
Ladies and gentlemen
The states from our Region, belong and border with Europe geographically, and also share cultural and historic heritage with the Union. Considering that every state from the Region, including the Republic of Macedonia is determined to full-fledged Membership in EU. Our joint future is clearly defined. Nevertheless, to achievement of this strategic aim of ours, is in our hands, in other words, it is up to the dynamics of the needed reforms defined in the well known Copenhagen criteria. Essentially, these are reforms that lead to full-fledged membership in EU, but the fact that we build stabile states characterized with a true rule of law and functioning of the legal state, where the individual and collective human rights and freedoms will be respected. States in which the economic growth will create conditions for better life of each citizen, increase quality of the education system, healthcare and improved and more efficient social care for the citizens in need. In other words, the benefits from the reforms will be initially felt by our citizens and once we become Members of EU this will have positive impact on the economy and security of all EU Member States.
The Republic of Macedonia since its independence is clearly determined to become Member of EU and NATO. We have overall political consensus from all parliamentary parties and great support from the citizens.
In the same time, I would like to underline that the current parliamentary majority and the government coalition are strongly determined to surpass the open issues that block our European path, thus definitely gain date on opening accession negotiations with EU. Nevertheless, I would remind that the European Commission has given several recommendations for date on opening accession negotiations. The Agreement on Friendship with Bulgaria, which was recently ratified by the two Parliaments, as well as the open high level dialogue between Skopje and Athens, clearly confirms our determination through dialogue and mutual respect, to find solutions for the most sensitive affairs.
For us, the further development of the overall relations with all states from the Region, contributing in the stability of Western Balkans and our European future is equally important. In regard with the situation here, I believe that our European friends are well acquainted thereof. In order to see true dynamics and success in the achievement of the reform process known as Plan 3 – 6 – 9, the engagement of the parliamentary majority and the Government alone is not sufficient, this requires overall inclusion of the opposition as well. It is true that the majority bears the greatest responsibility, and that the majority must create conditions for the opposition to freely articulate its interests, but in the same time the opposition must take part of the responsibility for the overall situation in the state, as well as for the achievement of the European future. I believe that similar to the Region, here when we are in opposition, it seems that we forget our responsibilities. I believe that we will surpass these “teething troubles” promptly.
I am convinced that through this kind of conferences and meetings; attendance and active participation of our friends from the European Union we shall promptly and easily surpass all hurdles. Allow me at the end, to wish you fruitful work and successful implementation of the conclusions and recommendations that will be adopted in our daily affairs.