“Defining the future direction of reforms in agriculture and rural development in Southeast Europe, continuation of the reform process for EU accession, intensification of regional cooperation started up in the field of agriculture and rural development and full support to the Standing Working Group for Regional Rural Development – SWG, as a regional initiative in the implementation of strategic and operational plans related to regional cooperation for the next 5 years” – These are, among others, the main conclusions brought by the participants of the fifth annual working meeting of Ministers of agriculture from Southeast Europe, held in the winery ” Stobi” in Gradsko, Macedonia.
Participants at this year’s meeting agreed to intensify the exchange of experiences and assistance in the process of EU accession in agriculture and rural development sector both, for the candidate and potential candidate countries for EU membership.
At the same time, the present Ministers and the chiefs of Ministerial delegations agreed that intensification of the cooperation in Southeast Europe is common interest of the region in order to implement the necessary reforms in the agro-food sector and rural development in accordance with the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union, whose guidelines for the next 5 years will be changeable upon the proposal of the states.
Support is given to the progress in strengthening regional cooperation through the effective use of existing initiatives and instruments of the Standing Working Group for Regional Rural Development – SWG, based on cooperation, transparency and complementarities, through the use of a comprehensive approach for development of cross-border areas in South East Europe.
During this year’s meeting, Republic of Macedonia, i.e. Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy has taken over the Presidency of the SWG Assembly for 2012 from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development of the Republic of Croatia. In this regard, Macedonian Minister – Ljupco Dimovski noted that the regional cooperation and its promotion has always been a priority of the Macedonian government and the Ministry of Agriculture.
The importance of commitment and support for improved and productive cooperation in all areas of agriculture and rural development, was stressed during the meeting, including the existing cooperation between universities, academic institutions and faculties of agriculture in Southeast Europe in order to strengthen the capacity to analyze the challenges in agriculture and rural development, as well as the implementation of agricultural policies.
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