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Balkan Regional Mayors Welcome Future Common Links

Date: 29.03.2010

The Mayors of Sofia, Skopje and Nis have signed an agreement to intensify common activities and projects on a regional basis.

The mayors met in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, on Tuesday, as members of the "Euroregion - Euro-Balkans" association. Yordanka Fandakova, the Sofia Mayor, welcomed her two counterparts - Milos Simonovich, from Nis in Serbia, and Koce Trajanovski, from the Macedonian capital.

The Mayor of Skopje said that, although there were some areas of disagreement between the regional members, the association would concentrate on positive development.

"We will leave behind all our conflicts, we will forget them in the name of our common future in a big Europe," Koce Trajanovski said.

"We have unresolved issues between the two countries and areas where we disagree, but our goal is to give a potential to areas where we have understanding, and which lead us forward," he added.

Trajanovski explained that one of the highest priorities for Skopje was the construction of the railroad link with Sofia. In his opinion, this would become the basis for communication between the two countries.

The mayor explained that the project was partly financed by Skopje, but that he expected future European funding support.

Another priority he expressed was for an increase in investment exchange between the two neighbors. Macedonian businessmen were eager for Bulgaria to invest with them.

The three mayors have agreed at Tuesday's signing that, within one year, they will have prepared a joint territorial planning development that will be accompanied by projects for trans-border cooperation that may attract European funding.

The three municipalities have each agreed to contribute EUR 50 000 to carry out the planning study.

Sofia will retain the chairmanship of the regional association until March 2011, when the Serbian city of Nis will take over the role for a further two years. Sofia has undertaken to represent the Euro-Region association to European institutions.

"The three cities of Sofia, Skopje and Nis are close geographically and in their culture, and should become an example for other regions on how to develop close relations," the Mayor of Skopje concluded.

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