“As of March this year until this visit today, we have exchanged 5 visits from Macedonian and Czech highest representatives of the two countries, in both North Macedonia and the Czech Republic. This says a lot for the excellent political relations, the friendship between our two countries” – said the President of the Government of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, on the outset of the joint press conference with the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Andrej Babish, which took place within the official visit of a delegation of the Government paid to the Czech Republic.
At the press conference Prime Minister Zaev accompanied by Bujar Osmani, Deputy President of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia in charge of European Affairs and Zoran Popov, State Secretary within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, underlined that North Macedonia and the Czech Republic marked the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations while achieving progressive economic and widely expanded cooperation.
“These connections are strong and both countries have the obligation to maintain and deepen the mutual relations using political dialogue on the highest level. The Czech Republic is one of the most important and consistent supporters of our EU and NATO integration. We highly appreciate the strong and vocal support on all levels”, said President Zaev while adding that the friendly and mutually supporting relations are strong on multilateral level and that our country highly appreciates the fact that the Czech Republic, while presiding with the Visegrad Group, had organized Summit of Heads of Governments from the Visegrad and WB countries.
The Czech Republic, together with Austria and Italy, was the leader and initiator who, supported by 15 EU member-states, to send a letter to the European Commission appealing to improve the efficiency of the negotiations process, in an exceptional moment when North Macedonia truly needed such support.
“These are only few of the great friendly gestures of the Czech Republic showing support for North Macedonia. We have been encouraged by the continuous efforts to keep the enlargement issue visible and high on EU’s agenda following the October EU Council. We sincerely hope that this pressure will deliver and that soon enough, we will hear the decision for commencement of negotiations of our country”, said Prime Minister Zaev on the press-conference with the Czech Prime Minister Babish.
The Czech Republic and North Macedonia have excellent cooperation on the south border of our country in the process of monitoring and control of migrant movements and the financial and material assistance delivered by the Czech Republic to North Macedonia and to our Ministry of Interior is of utmost importance.
Prime Minister Zaev told the media representatives in Prague that now it is time for both countries to focus on economic cooperation, especially with regards to reinforcement of the trade exchange and intensifying the investment cooperation.
“The joint committee for economic cooperation has determined the main areas which may improve the mutual trade exchange and economic cooperation. Now we, the political leaders of both countries, should stimulate the cooperation in the energy department, especially the renewable energy resources, automotive industry and tourism. I am happy that we are in the final phase of making arrangements with the Lokotrans Company for investment in the area of railway infrastructure in total value of 20 million EUR. The company intends to invest in regional center for logistics and distribution in Skopje, the capital of our country and to perform operations for the whole region of the Western Balkans”, underlined Prime Minister Zaev.
In conclusion of his media statement, Prime Minister Zaev said that there is enormous interest in high education scholarships awarded by the Government of the Czech Republic and that the increase of scholarships will reinforce the friendship between the two countries.
The Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Andrej Babish, in his welcome address emphasized the strong partnership which North Macedonia has shown to EU in 2015 during the migrant crisis while saying the Czech Republic will continue providing its support to the European aspirations for which the country has met all criteria to start negotiations, especially after signing the agreements with Bulgaria and Greece.
Prime Minister Babish reiterated that the Czech Republic continues with its insistence to complete this issue with positive results until March next year and that his country will reinforce the economic cooperation with North Macedonia as an ally and partner within NATO.