PM Borissov: Bulgaria, Macedonia to Work towards Zero Customs Tariffs

February 4 (BTA) - After meeting with Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev here on Monday evening, Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borissov told a news briefing the two countries would work towards zero customs tariffs.

Borissov stressed that Bulgaria's EU Council Presidency made its mark on history by tabling the topic of the Western Balkans. Before that no one thought that this subject could be put on the agenda and that relations between Macedonia and Bulgaria could make progress. It is a fact, however, that extremely great progress was made in just a year, he said.

The Bulgarian government leader said that all agreements between Macedonia and Bulgaria are becoming a reality, and singled out as an example Pan-European Transport Corridor VIII, which is already under construction. "People did not believe that Bulgaria would have motorways, but we have built them," he said.

For his part, Zaev said the signing of the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborliness and Cooperation with Bulgaria had given an impetus to the talks with Greece and the settlement of the long-running major dispute over Macedonia's name. He added that the Bulgarian Prime Minister had contributed greatly to Macedonia's NATO accession. Also, there is a chance for Skopje's EU accession talks to start in June.

Zaev said: "I am extremely grateful to the Bulgarian people and to Prime Minister Boyko Borissov because this would not have been possible unless Borissov with his courage and European mindset and in a typical 21st century European manner had helped with the signing of the Good Neighborliness Treaty between Bulgaria and Macedonia. Thanks to that Treaty, I myself as Prime Minister of Macedonia had the courage and strength to go ahead and enter the public dispute on the name of our State." He also noted that after the Good Neighborliness Treaty was signed, trade between the two countries increased significantly. Macedonia and Bulgaria are an example of the new realities in the Balkans - two fraternal peoples which have established a relationship of close friendship, said Zaev.

Before the news conference, Bulgarian Culture Minister Boil Banov and his Macedonian counterpart Asaf Ademi laid a wreath at the monument to Gotse Delchev in Sofia on the occasion of the revolutionary's 147th birth anniversary.

Later on the two signed an agreement on cooperation for the period until 2021. RY/DD

Source: Sofia