The Prime Minister of Northern Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, gave the first interview for an Albanian TV station to Top Channel.
Journalist Muhamed Veliu asked him about the escape of former Minister Gruevski, the April Presidential elections and the joint candidate that Zaev’s party has with the biggest Albanian party in Macedonia, the BDI.
“Thank you for the invitation. It is a pleasure to be on your television. I want to give my best greetings to all Albanians and to your audience. Albania is the friendliest country for us. This friendship is 100% friendly, by helping each other to progress with our future, with the final purpose to have our citizens live better. We have improved many things through this friendship, such as the “one stop shop”, by delegating trust in our institutions. The trade exchange has increased with 11.5% during the last year. We have the capacities to achieve more. We must encourage investors in both of our countries, which would also mean more jobs for our citizens, a higher GDP and more exports”, he said, when asked about the relations between the two countries.
When asked if he believed that Macedonia and Albania would receive the EU accession negotiations this June, Zaev said that both countries have waited for a long time. Northern Macedonia has been a candidate country since 2005, and by opening the new chapters required by the EU, there will be better economic standards and a better life for the citizens.
“I hope that the situation in Albania will get better, and that the dialogue continues in my country’s Parliament. I strongly believe that the European Commission will give a positive decision. They will want to leave a positive thing behind, as their mandate is coming to a close. I also believe that the MPs will be calmer after the elections and will be more positive about the decision”, Zaev said.
Northern Macedonia’s Prime Minister says that Gruevski didn’t get any help from Albania’s politicians as he fled to Hungary, and that Albania, as any other friend would do, shared every information with Northern Macedonia.
Top Channel: Are there concrete plans with the Albanian government to increase the economic exchange and free movement of goods in both countries?
Zoran Zaev: We need to improve every infrastructure project that connects us. We have built a 450 million EUR project, the Kititohrid, that connects us to Albania. Very soon we will build a 530 million EUR railway that will connect Durres with Skopje, and will continue to the Black Sea, in Bulgaria, and then Istanbul. The One Stop Shop that we built, we hope it will open this summer. It will decrease the time citizens waste in the border with 50%. It will be the same for transportation trucks. We have worked a way for the respective countries to delegate responsibilities to each other. For example, if the Albanian Food Authority declares that the foods entering Northern Macedonia are clean, that’s enough for us. We will accept the certification. And vice-versa. We are working to open another border checkpoint at the Arber Road. The regional cooperation between all of our six countries is expected to increase, and this is much valued by the EU. That would bring great profits for the six Balkan countries.