“I congratulate you on your recent appointment. I am aware that the new Government in Skopje is involved in implementing the “Urgent Reform Priorities” to continue on the path towards European and Euro-Atlantic integration. I can assure you Italy will continue to grant your Country its full support and I am confident that we will enjoy a most fruitful cooperation," said the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano, during his first meeting with the newly appointed Foreign Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Nikola Dimitrov, on the sidelines of the Western Balkans Summit in Trieste.
“With full respect for Macedonian ownership, we believe Skopje should maintain and strengthen its restored stability in the interest not only of the region, but of Europe as a whole. To this end, it is essential to cooperate with the opposition. I hope your Government will be able to approve the reforms with the widest possible political majority", said Alfano to his colleague.
With regard to regional matters, Alfano underlined that "the widening policy is and must remain the principal route to promoting peace, democracy and stability in the Western Balkans and allowing economic development. With this in mind, while holding the Presidency of the Western Balkans Process, we have decided to focus our efforts on a number of strategic priorities: the development of regional connectivity, innovation, as well as cooperation to promote the rule of law and the fight against corruption and organised crime”.
The two ministers also discussed migration issues. For Alfano “the crisis on the Western Balkans route has demonstrated that cooperation with the countries of origin and transit is crucial. As part of a geographically balanced process, we remain committed to the full implementation of the EU-Turkey Declaration and hope that the EU will put the same energy into dealing with the issue of migration flows across the central Mediterranean”.