CEI Parliamentary Committee held in Skopje
Within the framework of the 2015 Macedonian CEI Presidency, a meeting of the CEI Parliamentary Committee was held in the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia. The gathering, in Skopje on 20 May, was chaired by the acting President and Head of the Macedonian CEI PD Delegation, Aleksandar Nikoloski. The topic of the meeting was "Relevance of EU Macro-Regional Strategies as an Opportunity for Cross-Border Cooperation among CEI Мember States: the Role of Parliaments."
Nikoloski expressed satisfaction about the fact that the Republic of Macedonia was chairing the CEI PD for the second time and that it was is debating upon a crucial topic for the future development of the CEI region. The President of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, Trajko Veljanoski, in his address as keynote speaker, emphasised that the CEI Presidency would be focused on greater infrastructural connectivity in the region and that national parliaments and parliamentarians had to play their role with regard to the adoption of legislation and in supervising activities undertaken by their governments to fulfill the envisaged objectives.
The Vice-President of the Government in charge of Economic Affairs, Vladimir Peshevski, stated that EU integration of all countries from the Western Balkans was a main political priority of the Macedonian CEI Presidency and that development of infrastructure, tourism, agriculture and culture were key economic priorities for the CEI region. Peshevski presented the current economic situation in the State, mentioning the expected growth of 3.8% by the end of the year and indebtedness of 29.1%, lower than the Maastricht criteria. In the field or road and railway infrastructure, he presented the capital projects underway with regard to Corridor 8 and 10. In the field of agriculture, support to farmers by the state is envisaged to amount to more than 1 billion EUR.
The growth of Macedonian tourism for 2015 is expected to be around 10% and the government works intensively for developing cluster associations and regional cooperation. CEI Deputy Secretary General, Erik Csernovitz, pointed out that CEI, thanks to its geopolitical situation, represented a platform for European integration and a bridge between macro regions, and that it was ready to contribute to the implementation of each EU macro-regional strategy. He also underlined that the European perspective of its non-EU member countries remained the CEI core mission.
Deputy-Foreign Affairs Minister, Dragana Kiprijanovska, pointed out that the organisation of this meeting was an important indicator of the strategic determination of Macedonia to continuously and actively maintain good neighbourly relations and develop regional cooperation. The Vice-President of the Assembly and Chair of the Foreign Policy Committee, Antonio Miloshoski, stated that Macedonia fulfilled the criteria for joining the Adriatic Ionian Strategy and that it would be a constructive partner in the region.
Senator Lodovico Sonego suggested that a separate meeting of the General Committee on Economic Affairs should be organised on infrastructural policies, regional connectivity and economic development and would be hosted by the Italian Parliament in October this year.
The Final Declaration of the Parliamentary Committee is available here