Bulgaria will make EU integration of Western Balkan states a priority for the EU. This opinion was expressed by Dzhema Grozdanova, Chair of the Foreign Policy Committee, and Kristian Vigenin, Chair of the Committee on European Affairs an Oversight of the European Funds, at the joint meeting of the two Committees with the Ambassadors of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro. The meeting was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ekaterina Zaharieva, and the Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
The integration of the Western Balkan states should become a focus of attention for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, said Dzhema Grozdanova at the meeting. She emphasised that support for the Western Balkan states should continue under the next presidencies as well.
The Chair of the Foreign Policy Committee said that speeding up the EU accession process for the Western Balkans will be one of the main topics at the Inter-Parliamentary Conference for Common Foreign and Security Policy and Common Security and Defence Policy on 16 and 17 February 2018 in Sofia. We are going to propose the adoption of a document at the end of the event. It could lay the ground for the Western Balkans-EU Summit, which will be help in Sofia in May 2018.
Kristian Vigenin, Chair of the Committee on European Affairs and Oversight of the European Funds, said that Bulgaria is very committed to one of the most important priorities of the forthcoming presidency of the Council of the EU. There is a very broad consensus among all political forces that the Western Balkans’ accession to the EU is not a priority only for the presidency but also for our country, he emphasised.
The Bulgarian Parliament has shown empathy with the EU enlargement process, will continue to do this, and today’s discussion is one of the ways to demonstrate our commitment, said Kristian Vigenin. The MPs from the two Committees will have a meeting with representatives of the executive power to outline what can be achieved during the Bulgarian Presidency, he explained.
Ekaterina Zaharieva, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that the integration of the Western Balkans is a main and long-term priority and the work on it should continue. She announced that the next three counties that will take over the EU presidency have affirmed that this topic will continue to be in the focus of their attention.