Relations provide a true example of good neighbourly relations
Greece is unwavering in its commitment to the Western Balkans and their accession to the European Union, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said during joint statements with North Macedonia counterpart Bujar Osmani at the Foreign Ministry on December 15th, adding that revisionist forces must not be allowed to take advantage of the long process of accession.
“You can always rely on our friendship and our support,” Minister Dendias said, noting that the commitment to North Macedonia’s and the entire Western Balkan region’s accession was further proven by the convening of the first intergovernmental conference between Greece and North Macedonia in 2022.
The two Ministers discussed collaboration in sectors such as renewable energy sources, green energy and the defence industry, he said, which would benefit the two countries, as well NATO.
They also discussed the interconnector natural gas pipeline between the two countries and the Greek Air Force’s patrol of North Macedonia’s airspace surveillance that began in 2019 under the NATO framework.
The Greek Head of Diplomacy also congratulated his counterpart for his country’s assumption of the rotating Presidency of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2023 at a challenging time, especially after Russia’s catastrophic invasion of Ukraine and said Greece would support the effort in every way it could.
At the press conference, Minister Dendias also welcomed the Egyptian President’s decree delimiting the western maritime borders of Egypt, which he called a great confirmation of Greece’s faith in International Law and the Law of the Sea that contributes to the entire region, unlike the Tripoli-Turkey memoranda.
On his part, Minister Osmani expressed his satisfaction that the relations between the two countries provide a true example of good neighbourly relations and said it provided a foundation for a long and stable collaboration based on mutual trust and respect.
Particularly, he noted that the Prespes Agreement provides a base for further collaboration and boosting of mutual relations and he thanked Greece for its support during the accession process, relying on it for an exchange of experiences and know-how.
He noted that the good political relations between the two countries have created new conditions for economic collaboration, citing figures from 2018 showing that trade between the two countries has risen by 100% (from 853 million euros), and is expected to reach over 1.6 billion euros this year (2022).
The two countries can further improve this, he said, while he also noted that direct Greek investments in North Macedonia, amounting to 620 million euros, hold a large share of his country’s GDP, while business relations and collaboration could expand further.