Foreign Affairs Minister Bogdan Aurescu reiterated in Skopje on Thursday Romania’s support for North Macedonia’s accession to the European Union.
“Romania firmly supports North Macedonia’s accession to the European Union. I believe your country is fully prepared for negotiations, accession and especially in this context of Russia’s illegal aggression against Ukraine and its consequences I believe the EU enlargement is becoming more relevant than ever, as we need the Western Balkan region to be stable and secure, it is of a strategic importance not only for the countries here, but for the entire EU as a whole. Romania will be the best promoter of EU’s enlargement policy. (…) Last year, in May, all EU foreign ministers voiced in favour of opening the accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania,” Aurescu told the joint news conference with his North Macedonian counterpart Bujar Osmani.
Aurescu stressed that the EU accession negotiations also mean reforms, in which context he specified that Romania is ready to offer the necessary support to North Macedonia.
The talks also focused on the illegal invasion of the Russian Federation in Ukraine.
“The crimes against humanity committed by Russian forces in Ukraine must be investigated as soon as possible by international justice,” Aurescu said, according to Agerpres.
He praised North Macedonia for aligning itself with the European measures against the Russian Federation.
“This proves once again that North Macedonia’s commitment to the European path is a real one,” the Romanian foreign minister said.
Bogdan Aurescu said that the talks also focused on the measures taken by NATO, in which context he invited North Macedonia to join the allied battle group that will be deployed in Romania.
“Russia’s illegal aggression in Ukraine has radically changed the security environment in Europe and affected not only the region, not only Europe, but also the Western Balkans and the projections. In this context, we have decided to set up several battle groups on the Eastern Flank of NATO, including one in Romania, and I have invited North Macedonia to consider joining this battle group,” he said.
The Minister also pointed out the opportunity for North Macedonia to join the Euro-Atlantic Centre for Resilience and the EU Cyber Centre, hosted in Bucharest.
The two officials discussed economic and sectoral cooperation between the two countries. Minister Aurescu said that North Macedonia is Romania’s second largest partner in the Western Balkans in terms of trade and added that this year, as soon as possible, the Joint Trade Committee will meet.
The two ministers signed two bilateral documents that will help deepen co-operation – a memorandum of understanding on diplomatic training and a document on social security.
The discussions also focused on the importance of cooperation in order to preserve the cultural and linguistic identity of persons belonging to related minorities, given the role they play in the relationship between Romania and the Republic of North Macedonia.
Minister Aurescu expressed Romania’s support for the future OSCE Presidency-in-Office, which will be held in 2023 by the Republic of North Macedonia.