Bulgaria to Provide Expert Assistance to Albania's, Macedonia's EU Pre-accession Process

Bulgaria to Provide Expert Assistance to Albania's, Macedonia's EU Pre-accession Process


Bulgaria to Provide Expert Assistance
to Albania's, Macedonia's
EU Pre-accession Process

Thessaloniki, November 23 (BTA) - Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva took part in the fourth quadrilateral ministerial meeting of Albania, Bulgaria, Greece and Macedonia in Thessaloniki on Thursday, Zaharieva's Ministry said in a press release.

She offered Bulgarian expert assistance to the EU pre-accession process of Albania and Macedonia.

Zaharieva called on each of the four countries to designate a liaison diplomat to coordinate the implementation of the decisions adopted in a quadrilateral format.

"When we met in May 2019, we agreed to make our meetings more practical and achieve tangible results, involving universities, journalists, joint trips in the four countries for young diplomats' exchange," the Foreign Minister said. She recalled the efforts that Bulgaria made while it held the EU Council Presidency for Albania and Macedonia to get a greenlight for the start of accession negotiations and stressed that Bulgarian diplomacy continues to work for a European perspective of the Western Balkans.

"Thessaloniki 2003 was followed by Sofia 2018, and I hope we'll have Zagreb 2020. The Sofia Declaration and the Sofia Agenda list to-the-point proposals for cooperation between the 28 Member States and the six Western Balkan countries which want to accede," Zaharieva recalled. She highlighted the specific areas of cooperation on which the European leaders agreed in Sofia: security, economy, youth development, connectivity, digitalization and good-neighbour relations.

The participants in the Thessaloniki ministerial discussed regional issues, including the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and the post-election situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The chief Bulgarian diplomat stressed the usefulness of these formats and recalled that it was precisely in Thessaloniki that she reached agreement with her Albanian counterpart Ditmir Bushati on the recognition of the Bulgarian minority in Albania.

At Thursday's meeting, Albania was represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Artemisa Dralo and Deputy Finance and Economy Minister Albana Shkurta, Greece by the Alternate Minister for European at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs George Katrougkalos and by the Alternate Minister of Industry at the Ministry of Economy and Development Stergios Pitsiorlas, and Macedonia by Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov.

At a bilateral meeting, Zaharieva and Dimitrov discussed the specific steps for the implementation of the Treaty of Friendship, Goodneighbourliness and Cooperation between their countries. The Bulgarian Deputy PM said that it is in the shared interest that the joint multidisciplinary commission should at last produce tangible results. The commission will hold its third meeting in Sofia next week. The two chief diplomats also discussed the forthcoming holding of a joint business forum and a second joint meeting of the two country's governments after the signing of the Treaty.

Zaharieva also conferred with Katrougkalos. They considered a number of regional cooperation aspects with a focus on energy. The two stressed the importance of energy diversification in the Balkans. LI/LG

Source: Thessaloniki