NATO Assistant Secretary General Alvargonzález and European Commission Deputy Director General Popowski visit Skopje
NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy, Ambassador Alejandro Alvargonzález, and the European Commission’s Deputy Director General of Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission, Maciej Popowski, visited Skopje together on 1 and 2 March 2018. They held meetings with Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Radmila Sekerinska, Minister of Justice Bilen Saljiji, Minister of Interior Oliver Spasovski and Deputy Prime Minister for the EU Bujar Osmani. They also met representatives of civil society organisations, the Security Principals and the EU and NATO ambassadors. Both Ambassador Alvargonzález and Deputy Director General Popowski expressed support for the Euro-Atlantic perspective of the country.
The high-level visitors acknowledged the significant progress made by the country in moving forward key reforms with a view to strengthening democracy, the rule of law and the stability of the country and the region. Assistant Secretary General Alvargonzález underscored the Alliance’s commitment to support the country on the path toward NATO membership, in line with the decisions made at the 2008 Bucharest Summit and reiterated in the Wales and Warsaw Summit declarations. The Commission reiterated that it is ready to prepare a recommendation to open accession negotiations, based on the fulfilled conditions. In the coming period, both government and opposition need to work together to pursue and intensify the pace of reforms in key areas such as the independence of the judiciary, reform of intelligence services and a merit-based public administration.
Positive steps have been taken by the government to strengthen good neighbourly relations. The friendship treaty with Bulgaria was a positive development, showing the commitment of both sides to overcome bilateral issues and constitutes a source of inspiration with the region.
There is now a new momentum to find a negotiated and mutually acceptable solution to the name issue, under the auspices of the United Nations. Both Ambassador Alvargonzález and Deputy Director General Popowski expressed full support to this process, as well as hope that this will translate into further concrete results.
- Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.