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Shekerinska: Prespa Agreement opened NATO and EU doors, sealed Macedonian identity and language

Deputy PM and Defense Minister Radmila Shekerinska and Minister for the Diaspora Edmond Ademi, who is the chair of the working group to support the Prespa region, presented Friday project "EU for Prespa" and initiative "Prespa Forum for Dialogue".

Skopje, 10 July 2020 (MIA) – Deputy PM and Defense Minister Radmila Shekerinska and Minister for the Diaspora Edmond Ademi, who is the chair of the working group to support the Prespa region, presented Friday project “EU for Prespa” and initiative “Prespa Forum for Dialogue”.

Citing Aristotle’s words ‘You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor’, Minister Shekerinska said these virtues were needed to solve one of the biggest problems that have haunted the country since its independence, for which we paid the price in lost opportunities and blocked integration.

“Today we can put the Macedonian flag next to the NATO flag, not because of our ambition and desire but as a result of the job done. We are NATO. Thanks to this courage, thanks to the decision that was confirmed here in Prespa, today the Republic of North Macedonia is a NATO member and getting the European Union negotiating framework. It is not only NATO and the EU. Prespa sealed our identity and confirmed our language. The Prespa Agreement and the negotiating framework give us the strength to persevere so that the Macedonian language is an official EU language once we do our homework,” said Shekerinska.

According to her, the Prespa Agreement gave the answer whether the Balkans can do things differently, whether regional countries can act in a European way,

“The Prespa Agreement is a result of two Balkan countries that decided to act in a European way. To demonstrate that we have matured as states, realizing that compromise is not a loss but a win, a victory of reason over lies. The Prespa Agreement is already part of all European speeches and handbooks. It will be a model on how the Balkans  demonstrated its European spirit,” added Shekerinska.

On the Prespa Forum for Dialogue, she said it can be successful because of the political investment in its foundations, helping the country find solutions for its problems and representing a good model for the entire region.

Regarding the investment in Prespa, Shekerinska said it would have political, economic, infrastructure, agriculture and tourism sustainability, while representing the country’s legacy.

Minister Ademi said EU-funded project “EU for Prespa” is worth EUR 18 million, allocated from IPA III in 2021, with a small portion provided by North Macedonia, Albania and Greece. Its objective is to offer the region a long-term and sustainable economic development and keep young people in the area.

“The project is drafted in accordance with EU building standards and the companies working on the project and Macedonian institutions must observe them,” said Ademi.

He also presented the “Prespa Forum for Dialogue” as a regional and international forum of dialogue and cooperation, held every year on July 17, the day of the Prespa Agreement signing.

The Prespa Forum for Dialogue will take place in the multimedia centre that is part of the project. The visual representation of the center was presented by architects Ivana Belcheva and Damjan Kokalevski.

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