HomeBulgariaMinister Svetlan Stoev before the European Ambassadors: The EU's relations with the...

Minister Svetlan Stoev before the European Ambassadors: The EU’s relations with the Western Balkans should not be limited to the policy of enlargement

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Svetlan Stoev received the Ambassadors of the Member States of the European Union and Acting the Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria, acquainting them with the current developments after the elections for President and Vice President, and the National Assembly on November 14, 2021, as well as with priority Bulgarian positions on topics from the common European agenda.

Our Foreign Minister expressed hope that after the last parliamentary elections in Bulgaria and the constitution of the National Assembly, a new, regular government will be formed. He thanked the European ambassadors for the consent given by their countries to hold the elections on their territory for the third time this year, and on Sunday the Bulgarian citizens will vote in the second round of the presidential and vice presidential elections.

“Thank you for helping us organize the election process. We are also very grateful to the Bulgarian communities abroad, which have a big role in organizing the vote. They are also a bridge between our countries and contribute to the development of our relations”, our Foreign Minister said.

The round-the-clock work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in organizing the elections abroad in order to guarantee the constitutional right of our compatriots abroad to vote, was also highlighted. For the last elections abroad, 750 polling stations were opened in 68 countries, most of them in Europe. Our Foreign Minister reminded that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly proposed changes in the legislation so that the vote abroad would be facilitated, including a possible option to vote by mail.

During the meeting, the Bulgarian Foreign Minister briefed the EU Ambassadors on Bulgaria’s positions on the topics on the agenda of the last meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on November 15, 2021. The Bulgarian side reaffirmed full solidarity with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia in relations with the critical situation on the border with Belarus due to the wave of illegal migrants caused by the regime in Minsk.

In the process of EU enlargement to the Western Balkans, our Foreign Minister confirmed the consistent Bulgarian support, based on the principle of own merits of each of the candidate countries. According to him, the EU’s relations with the region should not be limited to enlargement policy. In this context, Minister Stoev called for increased attention and commitment to the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and other worrying developments. Regarding the start of negotiations for EU membership of the Republic of Northern Macedonia, the efforts made in recent months by Bulgaria to resolve open issues with Skopje were highlighted. At the same time, there is still no progress in the implementation of the Neighbourhood Agreement, said Minister Stoev. He added that the Bulgarian side still expects concrete steps from the neighbours to fulfil the commitments, including the renunciation of territorial and minority claims, the cessation of hate speech against Bulgaria, change of textbooks in the Republic of Northern Macedonia, taking into account our common history, guaranteeing the rights of the citizens with Bulgarian self-consciousness. “We do not see progress because there is no political will to resolve these issues”, the Bulgarian foreign minister added. Against this background, Bulgaria cannot support the holding of a first Intergovernmental Conference with Skopje. The current draft of the PCM Accession Negotiating Framework also does not reflect the proposals of the Bulgarian side and therefore Bulgaria cannot support it. The Minister reaffirmed Bulgaria’s consistent support for Albania, based on its own merits.

Minister Stoev expressed his expectation to the EU countries for solidarity, as Bulgaria has always demonstrated to its European partners. We call for the management of expectations and a realistic approach in relation to the preparation of the forthcoming conclusions on EU Enlargement, which will allow their adoption.

During the meeting, the Foreign Minister stressed the great importance that Bulgaria attaches to the Eastern Partnership and the countries in the region. The December Eastern Partnership Summit must adopt an ambitious joint declaration reflecting the progress of the partners and shaping the strategic vision for the future of the Eastern Partnership.


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