Macedonia deserves to join EU, Berlusconi tells Gruevski

Italy sincerely backs the Republic of Macedonia on its road to EU and NATO. Macedonia deserves positive European Commission report and a recommendation for start of EU membership talks. The country also deserves to become a member of the European Union, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi stated meeting with his Macedonian counterpart Nikola Gruevski on Wednesday in Rome.
Both interlocutors discussed ways to boost the scope of bilateral trade exchange and the presence of Italian investors in Macedonia, pledging to make personal efforts despite the engagement of ministers.
Gruevski and Berlusconi at their two-hour meeting and working lunch concurred that both countries were nourishing excellent political relations and vowed to further advance them.
The premiers discussed several topics related to politics putting an emphasis on their commitment to intensify and improve economic relations through investments and by increasing trade exchange.
"I have presented the reforms that are under way in Macedonia and underscored country's strategic goal to join NATO and EU as well as our determination to overcome challenges standing on the way of our EU integration," PM Gruevski stated after meeting Berlusconi.
He said that their discussions also focused on the latest challenges on the global economic stage and their impact on economic developments in Europe.
PM Gruevski informed his Italian counterpart on opportunities for running a business in Macedonia, which have been positively assessed by Berlusconi, who praised Macedonian Government's business policies.
"The visit to Italy is vital, because Italy is our friend and Berlusconi's Government has always supported Macedonia. The meeting and lunch with PM Berlusconi was held in a cordial atmosphere. Italy will keep on supporting Macedonia in many fields of overall interest," Macedonia's PM stated.
Italy, he added, traditionally backs Balkan countries, including Macedonia. "Berlusconi has always advocated all Balkan countries to join EU as a way permanent peace, security and stability in the region to be ensured," Gruevski stressed.
Italy is the fifth largest trading partner in the last five years. Annual exchange amounts to approximately US$ 500 million.
PM Gruevski in Rome is accompanied by Vice Premier for Economic Affairs Vladimir Pesevski, Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki, and Cabinet Chief Martin Protogjer.