We have chosen the EU as an alternative to the EU. In this regard, I expect to be more successful in the next 2020 on this road. With these words, the President of the Union of European Federals of Macedonia Petar Bogojeski opened the conference entitled “Opportunities for regional integration in the European Union”.
The first speaker at the conference was the President of the Republic of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski, who emphasized that even with the start of negotiations with the EU next year, we have a long and difficult process of adjustment that will take 5-7 years.
Pendarovski pointed out that regional co-operation and integration in areas of mutual interest would also be important, emphasizing that it would be a big plus for the development of states, which would contribute to accelerated integration of Western Balkan countries into the EU.
Next speakers at the conference were Christopher Gluck, Vice President of the Union of European Federalists , Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, European MP Radan Kanev, Maria Petrovic, Montenegrin Ambassador in Republic of North Macedonia and Minister for Local Self-Government Goran Mileski.
The speech was also given by the Vice President of the Assembly Zekir Ramkilovic, MP Hari Lokvenec, journalist Dragan Antonovski from MIA, Prof. Dr. Gordan Gorgiev, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Director of the Euro-Atlantic Security Council, Prof. Dr. Nenad Markovic, Ms. Vesela Cherneva from the European Council on Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sefer Salimi and the President of UEFM Petar Bogojeski.
Bogojeski point out that it was particularly important that the initiative for the Western Balkans, the “Small Schengen”, was discussed due to the fact that Serbia has an official Eurasian Union integration agreement. The mere connection of such cooperation does not point to an alternative that is not an EU alternative for us. On the other hand, the quiet tone of Western world reactions is probably in the direction of not putting additional fuel on the Balkan flame.
He sent two essential messages to the domestic, international public, citizens and politicians: Without a fundamental change in the political system, especially the electoral model, which strongly affects the political stability of the country, we must learn to recognize the state interest before the party. We have witnessed an unprincipled approach to the issue of one constituency. We are practicing democracy by blocking the adoption of legislative decisions that should be left to the Parliament to discuss normally. In this way it now says that we have a serious lack of democratic culture
The second message is the part where we try to provide an alternative. Credible criticism is that critique that offers a solution. Our solution stems from the Macedonian state interest, but the fact is that we are willing to integrate into the EU and NATO. In this regard, we offer the Central Balkan Initiative as a new type of foreign policy in the Republic of Macedonia. It is a closer connection because we know that the term “Western Balkans” itself has been compromised for the last 20 years. If Macedonia insists on staying in some Western Balkans, we are only dragging ourselves into the open questions and unresolved dilemmas of Serbia’s policy towards Kosovo and BiH. For us, those issues are closed, we fully recognize Kosovo’s independence, but we have a serious dilemma whether we still have to wait for the Serbian issue to be resolved in the next 30 years. That is why we reject those initiatives which do not bring solution but rather additional problems. We want to connect with the EU across the border with Greece, Bulgaria and Albania, a NATO member. That central-Balkan initiative may in the future be a solution to real and meaningful EU integration.