Skopje, 10 April 2020 (MIA) – President Stevo Pendarovski talked Friday on the phone with European Council President Charles Michel and thanked him for supporting EU’s decision to open accession talks with North Macedonia, which has shown in these exceptional circumstances that Western Balkan counties are part of the European family.
President Pendarovski, his office said in a press release, expressed interest during the conversation in the draft negotiating framework with North Macedonia and the timeframe for the first intergovernmental conference.
He added that the decision to postpone the EU-Western Balkans summit that was set to take place May 7, in Zagreb is understandable and underlined that all efforts should currently be focused on managing the COVID-19 pandemic. Pendarovski, however, added that it’s in the best interest of both the EU and Western Balkan countries that communication resumes through other methods, such as video conferences.
Michel and Pendarovski also discussed Friday the spread of COVID-19 in the EU and North Macedonia. Pendarovski presented measures and activities that are being undertaken in North Macedonia to deal with the effects of the virus and underlined the challenges that the country will face as a result of the epidemic.
He thanked Michel for the aid provided by the European Union through the EU funds and donations on bilateral level.
Aside from being a key trade and economic partner of North Macedonia, the EU has since the start of the pandemic also offered significant financial assistance to the country. The Union has thus far allocated solidarity support worth 69 million euros, of which 4 million euros for urgent medical needs, 50 million euros for socio-economic recovery, 12 million euros for helping the private sector and 3 million euros direct budget support.
Pendarovski expressed during the phone call solidarity with the EU’s largest member states, that have been deeply affected by the pandemic, and expressed hopes Europe will win the battle and deal with the effects of the global crisis caused by the coronavirus, through solidarity and close cooperation.