Austria's Foreign Minister Kurz Expects Paris Conference to Confirm EU Perspective for Macedonia
Austrian Foreign Affairs Minister Sebastian Kurz said that he expects to see the Paris conference provide support for Macedonia in protecting its southern border and in keeping a credible perspective for European Union accession, MIA reports.
"Macedonia is already doing its best to protect its border with Greece in order to stop the influx of illegal migrants and we very much appreciate these efforts. We have to do as much as possible to help Macedonia protect its borders and cooperate closely in the fight against people-smugglers. We must also continue to provide Macedonia with a credible EU-perspective and encourage it to undertake further political and economic reforms. Such further reforms are in the interest of the EU as well as the Macedonian people", Kurz told MIA in a statement.
Austria was an early and strong supporter of the Balkan process initiated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2014. Vienna hosted the second conference in the process, which is dedicated to helping Balkan countries build cross-border infrastructure and resolve bilateral disputes. The third conference of this process begins in Paris on Monday.
"Austria fully supports a credible EU-perspective for all the Western Balkans states. A further rapprochement to the EU, therefore more stability and prosperity in the region, is in our core-interest. Therefore, Austria organized a Western Balkans conference as part of the Berlin Process last year. Our aim should be to build on the Vienna conference today in Paris to achieve further progress on subjects like cross-border infrastructure cooperation, economic reforms, coping with the migration and refugee crisis and the fight against radicalization", minister Kurz added.
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