"Migration crisis as global problem and challenge: How realistic is only a regional solution? (Europe, CEI and Western Balkans)" and "Inter-connectivity in the EU context of the CEI region” were the central topics of the Meeting of the CEI Parliamentary Assembly, held in Skopje on 10 December in the framework of the Macedonian CEI Presidency 2015. The meeting was chaired by the acting President and Head of the Macedonian CEI-PD Delegation, Julijana Siljanovska, who underlined the importance of the CEI’s support to its members on their path towards EU integration.   During the debate, Members of CEI National Parliaments concluded that integration might further stabilise the region and that EU and NATO Member States should find a sustainable solution and integrate the whole region into the EU, and NATO- only for those countries wishing to join. They also called for a proactive approach and effective use of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism for states mostly affected by the migrant crisis. The need for EU Member States and governments to raise awareness on the differences between refugees and migrants escaping from bad economic conditions was also highlighted.    CEI Alternate Secretary General, Margot Klestil-Löffler stated that Europe was facing a number of challenges during exceptionally difficult times. Erik Csernovitz, CEI Deputy Secretary General, underlined that the solutions to issues concerning the migration process and climate could no longer be postponed, thus calling for immediate action.    The Minister of Interior of the Republic of Macedonia, Oliver Spasovski, pointed out that the State was faced with an unprecedented wave of refugees, having in mind that more that half a million refugees have passed through Macedonia this year. Spasovski underlined that the migrant crisis was  managed in a  highly ethical and professional manner, and in accordance with international law. He also highlighted that the approaching winter season brought about even greater responsibilities and that Macedonia would try to respond to the current challenges only for short-term shelter of those in need and that cooperation with neighbouring and EU Member States was therefore crucial.   A joint conclusion of the gathering is that countries need to share responsibilities through a coordinated cross-border approach in a European spirit of solidarity. Regarding macro-regional strategies, MPs supported the role as parliaments to facilitate their promotion and called upon the EU institutions to support their full integration in these strategies. EU funds are welcome for developing infrastructure projects, since infrastructure investments have a strong impact on overall economic activities, productivity and employment, which ensure a greater economic growth.  
  • Final Declaration adopted at the end of the meeting available here
  • Press Release from Macedonian CEI Presidency available here