Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Technical and Political Support from Britain to Macedonia


Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, Radmila Sekerinska and the UK Ambassador to Macedonia, HE Robert Chatterton Dickson, signed four Letters of Understanding for bilateral technical assistance between the Secretariat for European Affairs and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, United Kingdom.“We are entering a period when Macedonia will increasingly receive messages that the three conditions for membership will be administration, administration and administration. That does not mean that political and economical criteria are losing on importance, but that we will fulfil them only if we have the necessary administrative capacity, knowledge, competence and transparency”, Sekerinska emphasised.She added that during the British Presidency of the EU, Macedonia was granted the status of candidate country for EU membership and that this is a fact that will be written in history. Sekerinska expressed her gratitude for the UK assistance and stressed that the positive energy continues to flow through the projects that are to be implemented.The Ambassador Chatterton Dickson said that Britain has been a long-standing supporter of Macedonia’s integration into the European Union. “Like all countries that want to join EU, Macedonia faces challenging tasks moving the process forward. Government machinery and public opinion must be ready for the demands both of the accession process and the eventual membership. That is why today the Deputy Prime Minister and I have signed the first direct contracts between the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Macedonian Government. They are a practical sign of British political support for Macedonian integration into the EU”, the Ambassador stressed.Within the framework of this bilateral technical co-operation, the United Kingdom will support four projects in the following areas: strengthening the administrative capacity for the EU integration process of the Republic of Macedonia, developing an ICT network to support the “National Programme for Approximation of the Acquis”, improving the administrative and negotiation capacity and supporting the development of a new communication strategy in the European integration process of the Republic of Macedonia.
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