Shekerinska and Dimitrov at 22nd “Symi” international symposium organized by the Andreas Papandreou Foundation
The Deputy Prime Minister of the Government and Minister of Defence Radmila Shekerinska and the Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov are taking part in the 22nd “Symi” international symposium, which is taking place in Athens and Lagonissi this year, under the auspices of the Greek Chairmanship with the Council of Europe, and organized by the Andreas Papandreou Foundation in cooperation with the Region of Attica and the City of Athens.
The focus of the symposium is placed on cooperation and solidarity in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the post-pandemic world, in the function of exchanging opinions for approach and strategies that will represent national and global interests in the field of healthcare, exit strategies, regional cooperation and socio-economic challenges after the COVID-19 crisis, human rights and impact on vulnerable categories, development of “green” economies, impact on democracy and other relevant topics.
Shekerinska took part in the “The world post COVID19” panel, dedicated to political and security global challenges caused by the coronavirus, which also featured NATO Deputy Secretary-Genereral Mircea Geoana, as well as politicians and experts from the US, Sweden, Turkey and France.
“The pandemic has shown that the concept of security needs to be redefined and expanded. This entails changes in our national strategies, as well as changes in NATO planning, which received support at recent ministerial meetings as well. At the same time, the pandemic reminded the world of the importance of investing in public health and scientific cooperation” emphasized Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Radmila Shekerinska.
Dimitrov, at the panel titled “COVID19 and regional cooperation, prioritizing common interests”, addressed the importance of regional cooperation, particularly in conditions of a pandemic, as well as the need to undertake the necessary measures for mitigating the implication of COVID-19 on the health and socio-economic life of the citizens of Western Balkan and EU countries. In addition to FM Dimitrov, other panelists included former Prime Ministers of Greece and Kosovo, George Papandreou and Albin Kurti.
FM Dimitrov: “Geographically, culturally and economically our region is in the same boat with the European Union. We are in a race with time. To make the Western Balkan fully European, where tensions regarding nationalism, borders, history, will open the path to a brighter present and future for the present and future generations. To convince the skeptics in the EU that it is of common interest to invest in this goal, as well as to bring back hope to youth in the region that the goal of better and more prosperous life, rule of law, quality education and healthcare services, clean air is attainable at home as well. Furthermore, the engagement and assistance of the great political powers are very important by all means, but we have to create opportunities on the ground. This sense of cooperation, solidarity and togetherness that slowly but surely is being reborn during the pandemic crisis, is of greatest importance for us all to maintain it further during the accession process towards the achievement of the goal of a completely European Western Balkans”.
In the margins of the Symposium, Minister Dimitrov had several meetings, including with the Alternate Foreign Minister of Greece Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, with whom they discussed the key items on the agenda of the Greek Chairmanship with the Council of Europe. The Symposium allows debate between politicians, healthcare scientists, academics, Nobel-prize winners, and representatives of international and European organizations.