The Ukrainian parliamentary delegation consisting of the Chairman of the Committee on National Health, Medical Assistance and Health Insurance Mykhailo Radutskyi and the Chairman of the Subcommittee on European Integration Olha Stefanishyna visited North Macedonia at the invitation of the Chairman of the Assembly (Parliament of North Macedonia) Jovan Mitreski and the Chairman of the National Council for European Integration of the Assembly (NCEI) Aleksandar Nikoloski. The Ambassador of Ukraine to North Macedonia Larysa Dir took part in the events of the delegation.

North Macedonia became a candidate for EU membership in 2005. On this path, our countries have certain achievements and are ready to share their experience. Inter-parliamentary cooperation has recently intensified through meetings and mutual visits. Recently, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Jovan Mitreski, addressed the Verkhovna Rada. So we accepted the invitation to talk to the MPs of North Macedonia in person, said Mykhailo Radutskyi, the Chairman of the Committee on National Health.

The main topic of the visit was European integration. At a meeting with Aleksandar Nikoloski and members of the NCEI, he informed his colleagues that Ukraine has now fulfilled 78% of its commitments in the healthcare sector under the Association Agreement with the EU. In 2023, the progress in fulfilling the commitments was 12%. This year, we have planned to adopt several European integration bills. Special attention was paid to the issue of pharmaceutical cooperation between our countries in the following areas: mutual recognition of GMP certificates, exchange of experience to gain access to EU registries, localisation of pharmaceutical production in Ukraine, development of clinical trials, and production of cannabis-based medicines. We are also interested in the experience of our colleagues in establishing a state control body in the pharmaceutical sector.

Aleksandar Nikoloski said that all branches of government in North Macedonia support Ukraine and condemn russian aggression. And our active work on approximation of Ukrainian legislation to the European one in the conditions of a full-scale war is admirable. Our colleagues have assured us that they are ready to help Ukraine in adapting Ukrainian norms to European ones.

At the meeting with the Deputy Minister of Health, Ms Maja Manoleva, they discussed the possibility of rehabilitation for Ukrainians who suffered during the hostilities in medical institutions in North Macedonia. A memorandum has already been signed. The deputy minister said that the issue of rehabilitation of Ukrainians is currently being worked out at the level of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Finance and two medical institutions in the country. Since the start of the full-scale war, more than 4,500 Ukrainians have been sent abroad for treatment and rehabilitation, mainly to EU countries. Now North Macedonia may join these countries.

As the head of the delegation, I expressed my sincere gratitude to North Macedonia for being one of the first countries to join the sanctions against russia, the first Balkan country to supply Ukraine with heavy equipment, and ranked 4th among NATO member states in terms of military and technical assistance per capita. And traditionally, I invited my colleagues to visit Ukraine and see with their own eyes how the medical system works in the conditions of war.

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