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Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the signing ceremony of the agreement on the name issue at Prespa lake


Check against delivery! Today is a very good day. First of all, it is a very good day for the two countries; but we are here, Commissioner Johannes Hahn and myself, to say it is also a very good day for the European Union, for Europe as such, for the Balkans. It is indeed a historic day. I remember very well the first steps of these negotiations with the two Prime Ministers, the two Foreign Ministers and I would like to thank them on our behalf for the hard work they have done. Many people were sceptical about the possibility of reaching a mutually beneficial agreement. We are there, thanks to the dedication, the commitment, I would say the courage, the leadership, and the hope that the Prime Ministers, the Foreign Ministers have put in this process. The European Union and the two of us personally have been accompanying this process step by step. We are here today, first of all to thank the two sides, because they make us all Europeans proud of the capacity to find - through diplomacy, through dialogue - a win-win solution for a problem that was long-standing for too many decades. It makes Europe more peaceful, more united and that also opens the way for the entire region of the Balkans to live in a different kind of atmosphere. I hope and I believe this will be a source of inspiration for many in the region to take bold, brave, courageous steps; and also for the whole of Europe, because these are not times where diplomacy and dialogue and hard work are always the guiding stars, the compass. I think that this agreement shows the way to Europe, to the rest of the world that any problem, any issue is solvable in a positive manner through leadership, courage and dialogue. And indeed this is a very good day for all of us.  Now the other work starts, we will be there as the European Union every single step of the implementation, to continue to accompany this process with all the instruments we have, with all the unity - because indeed this is not something important only for the two parties, this is important for the whole of Europe and for the entire world. It is a historic day for all of us. So thank you. Will the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia be awarded with starting the negotiation process?  We already recommended as the European Commission to start the negotiations and personally I would expect and hope that the European Council in two weeks from now will take that decision. Based on merit; the merit was assessed already by the Commission a few months ago, and going in the right direction. Even more so today - I would expect this to send a positive signal and to strengthen the wave of change and peaceful, constructive regional relations beyond the two countries in the entire Balkan region. Link to the video!gv43tm



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