Foreign Minister Schallenberg Met With His Macedonian Counterpart Bujar Osmani

OrganizationsInternational Organizations ♦ Published: December 14, 2022; 22:37 ♦ Updated: January 20, 2023; 12:00 ♦ (Vindobona)

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg had a meeting with his counterpart of North Macedonia Bujar Osmani. Since North Macedonia will hold the OSCE Chairmanship in 2023, they discussed a lot of OSCE-related topics.

Austrian Minister Alexander Schallenberg (r) Met With His Macedonian Bujar Osmani (l) Counterpart in Vienna / Picture: © BMEIA Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres / Gruber / Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

The Foreign Austrian Minister Alexander Schallenberg met with his Macedonian Counterpart Bujar Osmani, where they discussed plenty of topics consisting mostly of the role of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) ahead of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In addition, Minister Schallenberg reassured Austria’s support for North Macedonia’s path toward membership in the European Union, citing the positive response from the European Council in July 2022 to North Macedonia and Albania regarding negotiation talks with the EU.

In this context, Foreign Minister Schallenberg spoke out in favor of a gradual EU accession process that would result in full membership for the candidate countries. “A gradual EU accession model would allow the EU accession candidates in the Western Balkans to be treated informally as full members. This would be an important signal that could go a long way and a necessary step to breathe new life into the EU accession process “he stated.

In addition to discussions about the status of EU enlargement, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg also shared opinions with his counterpart on the role of the OSCE given the Russian war of aggression. The recent meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council in the Polish city of Łódź showed great unity among a majority of the participating states in support of Ukraine. The resumption of the organization's activities in the country will bring positive effects, for example in the area of demining and environmental remediation. At the same time, the numerous challenges that the Russian aggression posed to the future functioning of the OSCE had become visible.

Furthermore, Minister Osmani thanked for the participation of Austrian police officers in the joint international operation to protect the Macedonian southern border, supported by the European Commission, as a significant contribution to strengthening the capacities of the Macedonian border police in the fight against illegal migration and migrant smuggling. North Macedonia and the European Union had signed an agreement with the European Union on operational activities carried out by the EU agency Frontex.

The Ministers also referred to the deepening of the developed economic cooperation between the two countries, the political-economic consequences caused by the Russian military aggression against Ukraine and other current international issues.