Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Dimitar Kovačevski

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met, at Maximos Mansion, with the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Dimitar Kovačevski.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Prime Minister and his North Macedonian counterpart had the following dialogue:
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Well, Prime Minister, dear Dimitar, it is always good to welcome you to Athens during these very challenging times. Let me take the opportunity to congratulate you and your people on the very successful beginning of the long process towards the European family. You know we’ve always supported the integration of the Western Balkans into Europe. And of course, this is also particularly relevant when we’re talking about one of our closest neighbors.

It will also be an opportunity today to discuss the significant challenges that we both face when it comes to the rising cost of energy. I want to repeat that Greece stands ready to support Northern Macedonia during these challenging times. And of course, I think it is to the interest of both countries to promote investments by Greek companies into Northern Macedonia and to connect our infrastructure in such a way that will increase the energy ties between our two countries.

So there’s a lot to discuss today, but as always, it’s a great pleasure to welcome you to Greece.

Dimitar Kovačevski: Well, first of all, thank you very much for the possibility to have this meeting. And normally we have relations which are on a very high level. And in the name of the people of our country, I would like to thank you for the support which we have received during June and July for the start of the negotiations of North Macedonia with the European Union, which happened after 17 years of delay. So this is a significant day for us and we are building, starting a very intensive process of negotiations where the help of already experienced members of the European Union, as is Greece, will be very valuable for us.

Another important topic, as you mentioned by yourself, is the energy crisis in which all Europe is and most of the world. We have done a lot of preparations for this winter season. But of significant interest and of significant importance for us is that the close ties which we have with Greece, especially in the supplies of raw materials, production of electricity in our energy facilities, remains open during the whole winter and spring in 2023. And also to continue the successful Greek investments in North Macedonia, especially in the field of energy.

You already know and our public knows that we already made a decision to become part of the Alexandroupoli LNG terminal. And as well as the market testing is going on for the new interconnector with Greece, which will give a possibility for diversification of the energy supplies to our country. And additionally, the new energy facilities for the future in North Macedonia are supported heavily by Greek investors. And as we can see at this moment, we have in the pipeline around the preparation Greek investments of up to €1 billion in the field of energy.

So two countries neighboring, I would say an example of good neighborly regulations, not only for the region, but for the whole of Europe.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Thank you.

During the meeting, the two leaders reviewed the bilateral relations of the two countries and confirmed their willingness to deepen them.

They also focused on the great challenge of the energy crisis that the whole of Europe is experiencing. The two leaders discussed the prospects of multi-level cooperation in the field of energy and, in particular, in infrastructure matters, as well as the need to diversify energy sources and strengthen interconnection.

As the Prime Minister stressed, Greece can contribute towards this direction due to the infrastructure it is developing on the energy map and due to its position for the benefit of the region’s energy security, thus highlighting its leading role in Southeast Europe.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis congratulated his counterpart on the recent convening of the 1st Intergovernmental Conference between North Macedonia and the EU. He reiterated Greece’s support to the integration path of North Macedonia, based on the criteria that have been set, the respect of good neighboring relations and the full, consistent and bona fide implementation of the Prespa Agreement, as a part of the Integration process.

In the extended meeting that followed participated, from the Greek side, the Minister of the Environment and Energy Kostas Skrekas, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Economic Diplomacy and Openness, Kostas Fragogiannis, the Political Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Roussos Koundouros, the Director of the Prime Minister’s Diplomatic Office, Ambassador Anna-Maria Boura, the CEO of Public Gas Corporation of Greece (DEPA) Konstantinos Xifaras, the Chairman and CEO at Public Power Corporation (PPC) Georgios Stassis and the chief energy adviser to the Prime Minister Nikos Tsafos.

On behalf of North Macedonia, the meeting was attended by the Minister of Economy Kreshnik Bekteshi, the President of the Economic Chamber of North Macedonia Branko Azeski, the Director General of Ad Power Plants (ESM) Vasko Kovačevski, the Director of AD MEPSO Orhan Murtezani, the energy adviser Viktor Andonov, the Ambassador of North Macedonia to Greece, Lidija Boskovska and the Counselor at the Embassy of North Macedonia in Greece Samir Ganija.