Agreement between Bulgaria and Macedonia is needed
8 July, 2017
The [good neighbourly relations] agreement between Bulgaria and Macedonia is needed. There is no issue that is beyond our ability to find common ground with our neighbour to the east. Naturally, there are sensitive topics but their resolution requires nothing more than honesty, determination and good will. This agreement is needed and really good. It will undoubtedly help improve the situation not only between Bulgaria and Macedonia but in the entire region.
It is my belief that following the signing of the agreement, bilateral relations will completely normalise and we will have close and good neighbourly relations. I expect that some things will be delayed and discussed whenever the circumstances allow it, which may turn out to be problematic. Nevertheless, the main positions should be outlined by this agreement. At present, we have no transport communications with Bulgaria to speak of. The connections are very slow – both the Novo Selo-Petrich route and Kriva Palanka-Gyueshevo. They are far too slow and expensive. But if we improve the transport links between Bulgaria and Macedonia, if we create energy connections too, many natural gas pipelines run through Bulgaria for example, both nations will benefit.
If I ever had the opportunity to sit down with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev, I would tell them not to be prisoners of old prejudices. The world has changed. In this day and age, we must have an open-minded attitude, a view of the larger picture, so that we can be conduits of future developments instead of hindering them. Personally, I like both heads of government. I believe better times are coming ahead for all of us.
Stojan Andov is among the most revered figures in Macedonia’s political life and former speaker of the parliament in Skopje. The article was originally published by BGNES Agency.