The Prime Minister thanked the Ambassador for the EU’s assistance to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic, in humanitarian aid and in financial support. He underlined that the government is firmly committed to its EU integration agenda, which is a strategic goal for the country. The EU Council Conclusions from March 2020, confirmed that the country is ready to open accession negotiations with the EU. Following the recommendations contained in the European Commission 2020 report, the government is making strong efforts to strengthen domestic EU reforms in an efficient and inclusive manner. In addition, Prime Minister Zaev expressed appreciation for the Economic Investment Plan adopted by the EU, as a strong signal of EU’s dedication and support for economic progress of the Western Balkan region.

Prime Minister Zaev and Ambassador Geer agreed that all efforts need to be made to operationalize the European Union`s historic decision to open negotiations with Macedonia, with the aim of holding the first Intergovernmental Conference by the end of 2020 during the German presidency of the EU. Ambassador Geer also underlined the importance of continued efforts to tackle outstanding bilateral issues.

For his part, the Ambassador welcomed the government`s commitment to continue to make progress in implementing EU-related reforms. These were first and foremost in the interest of all citizens as well as important in bringing Macedonia closer to the EU.

As regards the Covid-19 pandemic, Ambassador Geer recalled the comprehensive support the EU was providing to Macedonia in this regard, in the area of health-care and protection, macro-financial support and the protection of jobs. The Economic and Investment Plan adopted by the EU and announced by the Commissioner for the Neighbourhood and Enlargement Várhelyi in October, in particular offered the perspective of supporting economic recovery from the pandemic through substantial investment in connectivity, the Green Agenda, business and human capital.

Finally, they discussed the outcome of the Berlin Process Summit, which Macedonia had co-chaired with Bulgaria on 10th November. The Ambassador welcomed the commitments made there to establish a Common Regional Market based on the principles of the EU`s own Single Market – freedom of movement of capital, goods, persons and services. This promised substantial benefits as a result of greater integration within the Western Balkans and with the EU. They also underlined the importance of the Western Balkans Green Agenda to which the leaders had committed and which set out a path to address some of the most pressing issues of our time including climate change, environmental degradation and loss of biodiversity.