Press Advisories

11. 6. 2019 19:33

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš supported the efforts of Northern Macedonia to join the EU and visited Czech policemen

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš supported the efforts of Northern Macedonia to join the EU and visited Czech policemen, 11 June 2019.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš supported the efforts of Northern Macedonia to join the EU and visited Czech policemen, 11 June 2019.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš visited the Republic of Northern Macedonia on Tuesday, 11 June 2019. During his official visit, he met with government officials, visited the Macedonian-Greek border region and met with Czech policemen who helped with the migration crisis in Northern Macedonia.

Prime Minister Babiš opened his official visit to Northern Macedonia with a working breakfast with Deputy Prime Minister Koco Angyushev, Minister of Finance Dragan Tevdovski, Minister of Economy Kreshnik Bekteshi and Minister of Agriculture Ljupco Nikolovski. During the working breakfast, they mainly discussed the possibility of involving Czech companies in the modernization of the country and also the expansion of mutual trade.

The Czech Prime Minister then visited the Office of the Government of the Republic of Northern Macedonia, where he was officially welcomed by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. Both politicians followed up on mutual talks at the 17+1 summit in Dubrovnik. In addition to economic issues, they also touched on the planned accession of Northern Macedonia to the European Union. Among other things, Andrej Babiš assured his counterpart that the Czech continues to support the integration of Northern Macedonia and that he would require at the June European Council that accession negotiations be launched as soon as possible.

“I think Northern Macedonia is now at a crucial moment where in nine days the European Council should confirm the launch of North Macedonia’s accession talks with the European Union. European politicians have promised you this if you meet the conditions. For fifteen years it has been debated and it is great that you have finally found a common ground with Greece, that you have met the conditions that you even changed the name of the country, the Constitution. And those European politicians should and must now keep their word, because if they did not, it would be very demotivating for your citizens and for the whole region”, said Prime Minister Andrej Babiš at a press conference with Prime Minister Zaev. “I promised the Prime Minister that the Czech Republic clearly supports the launching of talks, and I am convinced that the whole of V4 supports Northern Macedonia”, he added.

After that, Prime Minister Babiš met with the chairman of the Assembly of Northern Macedonia Talat Xhaferi in the building of the Northern Macedonian Parliament. The Chairman of the Legislative Assembly thanked Andrej Babiš for the Czech support for the entry of North Macedonia into NATO and the EU and for the assistance that the Czech Republic provides to his country in coping with the migration crisis.

After lunch with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, the Czech delegation travelled to the Macedonian-Greek border. At the Bogorodica border crossing, Prime Minister Babiš and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Oliver Spasovski talked about the current development of the migration situation and mutual cooperation of both countries in the fight against illegal migration. The Czech Prime Minister then visited “Stone 59”, a place on the Greek-Macedonian border which is already located in the Schengen area and where a provisional detention camp for migrants was opened in 2015.

The Czech Prime Minister completed his working visit to Northern Macedonia in Gevgelia with a meeting with Czech policemen serving on the border in Northern Macedonia. Since February 2016, when the Czech Republic started posting its policemen to help their Macedonian colleagues, there have been a total of 1,014 Czech policemen. In collaboration with the international police force, 14,943 attempts to illegally cross the Greek-Macedonian border were detected. The Czech Republic also contributed a total of EUR 4 million to North Macedonia to support and develop its armed forces. The Prime Minister thanked Czech policemen in Gevgelia for their work and for spreading the good name of the Czech Republic.

“This is a very valuable visit for me and I am glad that I can be here and that I learned a lot of things”, said Prime Minister Babiš, recalling his previous similar visits to the Operation Sophia and Frontex Headquarters. “I would like to thank Macedonia, now Northern Macedonia, for actually stopping illegal migration, because it was acting alone. I find it absurd that hundreds of thousands of migrants came from the Schengen area to the non-Schengen area”, he said.

The Prime Minister reiterated the Czech Republic’s long-term stance on migration quotas and the specific assistance that the Czech Republic provides in addressing the migration crisis. “We have our contingent of 40 policemen, who have a great reputation. Of course, I thank them very much for being here to spread the good name of the Czech Republic. We have also provided material assistance and we will certainly continue to do so, because it is important for Europe to finally resolve the problem of illegal migration”, added Czech Prime Minister. As a systemic solution, Prime Minister Babiš mentioned six million Syrian migrants waiting to return to their home country or having a concrete plan to help develop African countries.

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