Exchange of Topics Between Foreign Minister Schallenberg and his Counterpart of North Macedonia Bujar Osmani

PeoplePoliticians ♦ Published: January 11, 2023; 22:25 ♦ Updated: January 20; 12:00 ♦ (Vindobona)

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg met with his Macedonian counterpart Bujar Osmani, where they discussed several topics including topics regarding the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). From January 1, North Macedonia has taken over as the chair of the organization for this year.

On the Occasion of North Macedonia Taking Over the OSCE Chair, Foreign Minister Schallenberg (r) met with his Macedonian Counterpart Bujar Osmani (l) / Picture: © BMEIA Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres / Gruber / Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Macedonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bujar Osmani, in his position as Chairperson of the OSCE, had a meeting in Vienna with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the OSCE host country, Austria, Alexander Schallenberg. At the meeting, Ministers Osmani and Shallenberg discussed the planned activities within the framework of North Macedonia's chair of the world's largest regional security organization in 2023. The ministers exchanged opinions on the current developments in the OSCE region, as well as on the Organization's role in dealing with the consequences caused by the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine.

"The war of aggression against Ukraine continues, and people are the first to feel nausea caused by today's geopolitical turmoil. Those directly exposed to war and conflict suffer the most. Others feel insecure and uncertain. Their way of living is called into question; daily life is disrupted. They need to get rid of the fear of war", emphasized Osmani at the meeting with Shallenberg.

Under the direction of Minister Osmani, North Macedonia took over the chairpersonship of the OSCE on January 1, 2023, which has been in an institutional crisis, especially since the outbreak of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. The Macedonian chair sees itself confronted with budgetary challenges and questions about the appointment of management functions and the extension of mandates for field missions.

Talks with Foreign Minister Osmani made it clear that, apart from the OSCE, the global shock waves from the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine are also reaching North Macedonia, which has so far been heavily dependent on Russia for energy issues. Foreign Minister Schallenberg emphasized that Austria supports energy diversification in North Macedonia and hopes that Austrian companies will continue to contribute to the energy transition there.

In addition to the energy sector, the Russian war of aggression is also harming food supplies, inflation, and economic growth in North Macedonia. Nevertheless, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, North Macedonia has unequivocally sided with the EU and has taken on all sanctions against Russia.

For this reason, Austria will continue to support the gradual integration of North Macedonia and the five other Western Balkan states into certain EU policy areas on the way to full membership, affirmed Foreign Minister Schallenberg. Possible areas include the single market, the common foreign and security policy, and education and research. Austria is a long-standing partner of North Macedonia in the OSCE and is a strong and vocal supporter of the country’s European integration.


MFA - Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs