Parliament Speakers of Bulgaria, Serbia Discuss Serbia's EU Integration, Commitments to Bulgarian Minority


Parliament Speakers of Bulgaria, Serbia
Discuss Serbia's EU Integration,
Commitments to Bulgarian Minority

Sofia, September 11 (BTA) - Bulgarian National Assembly Chair Tsveta Karayancheva and Serbian National Assembly Speaker Maja Gojkovic discussed the European integration of Serbia and the commitments made to the Bulgarian minority in the country here on Tuesday.

Gojkovic is paying an official visit at the invitation of her Bulgarian counterpart.

Emerging from the meeting, Karayancheva said that she had expressed a desire on behalf of Bulgaria to help Serbia align its legislation with EU laws because Bulgaria has 11 years' experience as a member of the EU. She also voiced satisfaction that the two chapters on Serbia's EU integration were opened under the Bulgarian EU Presidency.

Karayancheva said that talks also focused on the Bulgarian minority in Serbia and the commitments made by Serbian President Vucic, which have been reaffirmed by Gojkovic. The Serbian side has assured that issues with education, media and religious denominations are already being solved.

For her part, Gojkovic said that the talks had centred on Serbia's EU integration. She said that Serbia relies on Bulgaria's experience if it wants to avoid mistakes on the road to the EU.

The guest said that Serbia has passed legislation to improve the status of the Bulgarian minority in Serbia, which is about to be implemented. For the new school year there are new translated books for the Bulgarian minority.

Karayancheva and Gojkovic discussed the development of joint infrastructure projects.

Gojkovic invited her Bulgarian host to visit Serbia and address MPs at the National Assembly.

Later in the day, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev conferred with the Serbian National Assembly Speaker, the head of State's Press Secretariat said.

"The vigorous political dialogue between the two countries leads to common successes in trade exchanges and tourism and increasing person-to-person contacts," Radev said. He hopes that Bulgaria and Serbia will carry on and deepen their active dialogue at various levels so as to advance bilateral cooperation in areas of shared interest. The President welcomed the deepening cooperation between the two countries' parliaments, which strengthen the friendly relationship.

"I am grateful for the commitment assumed by President Vucic to the Bulgarian national minority in Serbia when we conferred in Belgrade in June 2018, both in respect of education and of the region's economic development, and an increased financial assistance to the media broadcasting Bulgarian-language content," Radev emphasized. He argued that honouring these commitments will strengthen citizens' trust in the capability of the two countries to achieve progress on this matter together.

The sides agreed that the EU Danube Strategy brings benefits to all countries of the region and can be far more effective through EU financing of more joint development projects along the Danube. "The Danube Strategy will be a priority of the next presidencies of the EU Council," Radev pointed out, adding that a commitment to this end was assumed at a trilateral meeting of the presidents of Bulgaria, Austria and Romania in Rousse in May 2018, which took place at Radev's invitation. "The Danube Strategy is a vehicle of economic and social convergence in the EU as well as of spiritual and cultural cohesion. I do believe that the Danube region countries are willing to unite so that the Strategy would become a top priority and generate tangible improvement to citizens," the head of State said.

"Bulgaria and Serbia have a number of things in common: history, cultural and linguistic similarities, but above all their common future and an aspiration to overcome the prejudices against our region. We are grateful for Bulgaria's confident and consistent lobbying for EU enlargement and for the work done during the EU Council Presidency," Gojkovic said during the meeting. RQ, LI/PP, LG

Source: Sofia