Greece “strongly supports” North Macedonia’s EU accession process, President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said during an official dinner in honour of her North Macedonia counterpart, Stevo Pendarovski, on Tuesday, adding that the European integration of the West Balkans is a strategic goal.
“As countries sharing borders, Greece and North Macedonia have an even greater responsibility before their peoples to collaborate and strengthen our bilateral relations based on respect of the principle of good neighbourliness and international law, to the benefit of our countries and the region in general,” Sakellaropoulou said at the Presidential Mansion.
She added that the dynamics of developing economic relations between the two countries is huge, especially in interconnectivity, energy, investments and trade.
Pendarovski said he was honoured to be the first president of the Republic of North Macedonia to visit Greece as such and said “we had waited 30 full years for this visit, and have come as friends.”
He said the Prespes Agreement signed three years ago, which resolved a complicated issue between the two countries, “was a difficult step for the two countries but we succeeded, to the benefit of our common future.” In particular, North Macedonia’s dream of becoming a NATO member happened, “and we are now formally allies, devoted to promoting and defending common values, and stability and prosperity for the region and the entire Euroatlantic zone.”
Pendarovski added that the country succeeded in visible results “beyond all challenges” and within a short period, while he stressed that “there is almost no sector in which we do not share from the common benefit of progress.”
Thanking Greece for its steadfast support in the EU accession process, Pendarovski also expressed the belief that trade exchange volume will rise soon, as will investments, and said that the opportunity was ripe to create improved conditions for closer cooperation between the two countries.
He also invited fellow-president Sakellaropoulou to visit Skopje and continue their constructive talks.