Gruevski: We need China for cooperation, financing of major projects

How do you assess the importance of the China-Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) leaders' meeting in Bucharest?

The Summit is important because China is a serious actor in the world economy and, moreover, a serious actor in politics, and especially in the economy. China's solid growth opens opportunities for stronger cooperation with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. On the other hand, our countries are such that we need cooperation with a country so powerful. You can finance major projects and it is a win-win situation. From this point of view, it is a very important summit.

How do you comment the concerns expressed about the summit in Brussels and last week's reports by The Financial Times?

I would not make any comment. This is in relation to American citizens and what they think about China's power. We want to have a good cooperation at political and economic level with the U.S. and China, hence we do not want to stand between them. I wouldn't comment any further.

Do you thing the Bucharest Summit is important for the EU - China Summit?

The relations between EU and China are important. As I said, China is a superpower. The EU is also a power and a major stakeholder. There is interest for cooperation in both directions - more contacts pave the way for better cooperation opportunities.

What is the importance of the Bucharest Summit for the business ties between Macedonia and Romania and Macedonia and China?

In addition to plenary meetings, I used this opportunity to have bilateral talks with the prime ministers of many countries represented here. I used this opportunity to have a meeting with the Prime Minister of Romania. It was a good meeting, I called for better cooperation, especially in economy. We proposed to organize next year a forum for businessmen from Romania and Macedonia in Skopje. There is potential for a better economic cooperation. Moreover, a few weeks ago I signed with China two capital projects for funding two highways with a preferential interest rate of 2%. Their construction will begin in February. One of them is located between Kicevo - Ohrid. Lake Ohrid is the most famous tourist destination in Macedonia. This highway will be 50 kilometers long. The other highway, also 50 kilometers, will link Skopje and the most important city in the east, Stip. They cost 600 million, with an interest rate of 2%, a grace period of 5 years return period of 20 years.

When will construction begin and when it is planned to be completed?

The company has signed an agreement envisaging construction works to begin on 20 February 2014 and to be completed within three years. It is a very good agreement, we are very satisfied. Now we are discussing other possibilities. We talk about financing hydropower stations, such as the one in Galiste.  We are also mulling the possibility of making other highway between Kicevo and Gostivar. Our talks also include the development of industrial technology areas in Macedonia to attract specialized Chinese companies who have shown a special interest about this, and several other important projects of interest to both sides, China and Macedonia.

Are there any other concrete projects involved?

They showed interest in recent years for investment in agriculture and are planning to open some capacities in the field of agriculture. Interest in the production of cement was also expressed. We proposed some concrete ideas about this. Of course, they need time to analyze the offer and make a decision.

How do you asses the recent developments in the negotiations between the EU - Ukraine?

The citizens of Ukraine are the ones who must decide what to do next. It is a good opportunity to start negotiations on the EU accession. But they have other options. They are the ones who should decide. Obviously there are two different views in their country: one that supports the EU and another that is against it. Therefore, I would not want to go very deep into their internal affairs and say who is right and who is not. They are a sovereign country and must decide what is best for them.