Pratenichki sostav
 
MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT


Monday, 15 October 2012

Address of the President of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Trajko Veljanoski at the International Conference dedicated on the 15th Anniversary from the Parliamentary Dimension of SEECP

Distinguished colleagues, Members of the Assembly, 

Dear guests, 

On behalf of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia and on my personal behalf I welcome you and wish you successful and fruitful work. It is indeed a great pleasure to be the host and organizer of a significant event such as the marking of the anniversary from the First Conference of the Presidents of Parliaments of the Member States of the South-East European Cooperation Process, initiated by the Parliament of the Republic of Greece and held on this day, 15 years ago in Athens.

Our one year chairmanship with the Parliamentary Dimension of the South-East European Cooperation Process starts with today’s International Conference dedicated on the beginnings, achievements, present situation, challenges and perspectives of our international cooperation. Undoubtedly, SEECP has developed into an authentic voice of the Region, in European context, accepted as an adequate and dynamic forum for dialogue and cooperation in which the parliamentary dimension has a significant and remarkable role. 

Guided by the Memorandum of Understanding on International Cooperation in South East Europe ratified in 2008 in Sofia, we are prepared and we believe that we have the capacity to continue all forms of cooperation practiced so far, such as: 

  1. Meetings of the Working Group which, pursuant to the Final  Declaration of the Conference in Antalya in 2010 and upon the initiative of the Parliament of the Republic of Turkey, should elaborate and continue the modules of the future development of the regional interparliamentary cooperation, which leads to the establishment of the Parliamentary Assembly. Six meetings have been held, but the work is not finished yet. The foundations have been laid down, and if there is a common will, we are prepared to coordinate the efforts during our Chairmanship for establishing a parliamentary assembly as one of the pillars of SEECP. 
  2. The meetings on regional and sub-regional basis, connected with the European and Euro-Atlantic processes in the region have been present in the past years. They are realized with a significant support of the European Parliament in cooperation with the Regional Cooperation Council aiming to contribute in the harmonization and connection of the national legislation with the Acquis. We wish to contribute in the preservation of the continuity of these forms of cooperation with the Conference of the Parliamentary Committees on European Integration and Affairs of the states covered with the Stabilization and Association process- COSAP to the Cetinje Parliamentary Forum. During our Chairmanship, we plan to schedule a meeting of COSAP in Skopje maintaining the determination of the forum for regular (six months) exchange of opinions for the strategy on Membership in the European Union of the Countries from the Stabilization and Association Process. 
  3. The experiences form other regional parliamentary assemblies, conferences and forums in this period are very important for us, and we are planning to establish new ones and deepen the existing ties with particular number of partners. In this process, we are looking forward to the overall support of the Regional Secretariat for Parliamentary Cooperation, which, according the Memorandum of Understanding,  is defined as a central point of these activities.
  4. The work of the parliaments, including the international support, is open to the public and the cooperation with the civil society and the NGO Sector is a natural consequence of this characteristic. That is why on the occasion of the Europe Day, and in cooperation with the European and Euro-oriented movements, we plan to schedule an international conference on a topic of mutual interest. 
  5. We wish to finalize the Chairmanship with the Parliamentary Dimension of the South-East European Cooperation Process with a Conference of the Presidents of Parliaments, in May 2013. The Conference would be held in Ohrid, as a cultural and historical pearl protected by UNESCO, providing an additional impetus for the 10th Conference, to transform our interparliamentary cooperation into a new, higher form of parliamentary Assembly of SEECP. 

The last statement might seem ambitious considering the confrontations and antagonism of the not that distant past, as well as some present discrepancies in the relations. In the distant 1997, the strength to meet at the same table and to break the ice of mutual isolation was considered as a big success. Gradually, the atmosphere was improved; the ice of mistrust melted and nobody posed the question whether we can all sit at the same table. As a reminder, the South-East European Cooperation Process started with 6 Member States, and today this number has doubled including 12 states. The aloofness towards the regional cooperation gradually declined, and the need for building an atmosphere of mutual understanding, trust and overall cooperation prevailed. Indeed, the good neighbourly and international relations start from the borders of our states. 

This is well known for our businessmen, artists, athletes, young people and citizens, since they practice it daily. Starting from the fact that the investments from the region are among the highest significance, the trade is at its most comprehensive, tourists’ visits are at its most frequent, to the favourite singers and TV shows and the most attended sport events are the ones connected to our neighbours. We, as parliamentarians, as true representatives of the citizens, should and must be united under the motto “voice of our people” beside the negative heritage from the past; in the name of the future we can and we must surpass everything on the path of the development of the good neighbourly relations and regional cooperation. We should transfer from “Balkan” into “Nordic” mentality with the most developed form of mutual understanding, support and cooperation, in direction of promotion of the good neighbourly relations.
The guiding idea and the initiating concept of the mutual relations should be the points that connect us and not pull us apart. 

Certainly it is about vision, which will gradually find a fertile soil of support, followed by a constant engagement. Our parliaments are the key for the wide popularization and understanding of this need that was understood by other European regions long time ago, and which benefits the strengthening mutual connections, as well as positioning their policies, economic interests and needs in Europe. In this context we are obliged to motivate, follow and monitor the Governments’ steps in direction of strengthening and development of the regional cooperation.

The Macedonian Chairmanship with SEECP for the period of 2012-2013 has determined 17 priority points. These points underline the need for providing conditions for further social and economic development and progress in direction of European and Euro-Atlantic integration of the Region as a whole. The pragmatic approach and implementation of the commitments is the key for translating the declarative intentions into real, tangible achievements, and to accomplish this, the parliamentary support on national and regional level is needed.

We believe that the wish to finally muster the capability for regional ownership and take responsibility for mutual relation deserves to be supported through numerous projects of the European Union and the international community, such as the Regional Cooperation Council, IPA and other projects. Indeed the global economic crisis that we are faced with today and the strengthened instability, evident at the borders of our region, require prompt transformation of the stabilization process into an overall association of South East European countries in the structures of EU. The regional cooperation is not and cannot be a substitute for EU integration. The fact that there are states with different degree of inclusion, from full-fledged members, candidate and aspirant countries can be translated into advantage for accelerating the European integration processes.

The past and the present events in the region and its neighbourhood clearly prove that we are undividable part of the European economic, social and security stability. Europe needs us and we need Europe. The prosperity of the South-East Europe is tightly connected and interwoven with the accomplishment of the European standards, values and principles. This is the link that motivates and connects our states, parliaments, nations and citizens. 

Thank you for your attention.

 
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> AGENDA
 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014, 11:00, "Boris Trajkovski" Hall 

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