Neighbourhood Commissioner holds working meetings in Bulgaria

Photo: BTA Oliver Varhelyi

European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi visited Bulgaria today and held working meetings with Bulgarian caretaker Foreign Minister Svetlan Stoev and with GERB leader and former PM Boyko Borissov, BTA reported. He was accompanied by Portugal Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva, whose country is currently holding the EU rotating Presidency.

The Bulgarian position towards North Macedonia's EU application was at the centre of the disscussions. No changes can be expected in Bulgaria's national position, Foreign Minister Svetlan Sroev said after meeting with Varhelyi and Silva. "The maintaining of goodneighbourly relations and receiving the necessary guarantees about the implementation of the Goodneighbourliness Treaty remain of key significance for us," he pointed out.

According to minister Stoev, the European perspective of the Western Balkans is one of the main priorities of Bulgaria's foreign policy, which was also a leading factor during the Bulgarian EU Presidency. He said that Bulgaria continues to be consistent in its strong support for the Western Balkan countries' European integration, provided that the criteria for each candidate country's individual accomplishments are observed together with the fundamental values of the European community, including the principle of goodneighbourliness. "We are open to active, open and meaningful dialogue with North Macedonia and expect to work with our closest neighbours in the region in the spirit of sincerity and constructiveness," Stoev said.

Earlier in the day, GERB leader Boyko Borissov conferred at his party headquarters with Varhelyi, GERB said in a press release. The meeting, which was initiated by the Commissioner, focused on the 2017 Treaty of Friendship, Goodneighbourliness and Cooperation between Bulgaria and of North Macedonia. Borissov noted Bulgaria's key role for returning the Western Balkans' European integration on the EU agenda. He described this strategic region's European future as a guarantee for prosperity and a prevention of foreign powers' interference.

After visiting Sofia, Varhelyi and Silva flew to Skopje for talks with North Macedonian government representatives.

More on this subject: EU accession

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