The good work of Bulgaria in the course of its presidency of the Council of the EU and the steps it is taking towards the European prospect of the Western Balkans countries were the main topics at the meeting between Deputy Speaker of Parliament Yavor Notev and Slovenian President Borut Pahor. Chair of the Foreign Policy Committee Dzhema Grozdanova was also present at the discussion.
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Yavor Notev thanked for the appreciation expressed by the Slovenian President for Bulgaria as a member state holding the presidency of the Council of the EU. He emphasised that the Bulgarian Parliament was united with regard to supporting the efforts of the Western Balkans countries to join the Union.
We expect Albania and Macedonia to start negotiations for EU accession by the end of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU and hope that all countries from the region will achieve progress in fulfilling the criteria for membership, said Chair of the Foreign Policy Committee Dzhema Grozdanova.
There are historical and very close ties between Bulgaria and Macedonia, said the Deputy Speaker of Parliament in response to a question by the Slovenian President. Despite differences in the interpretation of some historical events, Bulgaria firmly supports Macedonia’s accession to the EU, emphasised Yavor Notev, and by way of illustration mentioned that the National Assembly had unanimously ratified the Treaty for Friendship, Good Neighbourliness and Cooperation between the two countries.
The Slovenian President expressed interest in the expectations from the summit of EU leaders and Turkey in Varna. Yavor Notev emphasised that the better option for the development of the relations between Brussels and Ankara would be if Turkey remained on the negotiation table for joining the EU. The summit in Varna should achieve security and confirm Turkey’s commitments to the EU, he added.
We are happy that there will be a summit and we expect the EU – Turkey dialogue to continue, said Chair of the Foreign Policy Committee Dzhema Grozdanova. There are issues raised at the European Council meeting and Bulgaria holding the presidency of the Council of the EU is making efforts to discuss them with all stakeholders, she added.
Issues related to the migrant crisis, Bulgaria’s membership in Schengen and the Eurozone, the Bulgaria – Russia and EU – Russia relations and others were also discussed. Yavor Notev said that Bulgaria was a EU member state but should not miss the opportunities for cooperation with Russia.
It was emphasised that the launch of the first direct air route Ljubljana-Sofia would enhance economic cooperation and direct contacts between citizens of the two countries.