PM Borissov: "It Would Be a Historic Mistake Not to Admit Skopje and Tirana to EU Accession Talks Today"

Brussels, October 17 (BTA correspondent Nikolay Jeliazkov) - Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov told reporters before the European Council meeting on Thursday: "It would be a historic mistake not to approve today the start of EU accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania."

Borissov commented: "We have a very clear position on the matter: it is very important for the Balkans, the region and our neighbourly relations to give an EU perspective to both North Macedonia and Albania." Sofia would not presume to hamper the start of accession talks as moot points can be sorted out later on. If the EU lets this chance slip by, there may not be another one in the next 15 years, he added.

"Despite all their big flaws, North Macedonia and Albania deserve to be given a perspective," said Borissov. He added that life hates a vacuum and someone, be it Jihadists or a different influence - Turkey, Russia, China or another country - will take an interest in them, which will not be good for Bulgaria.

Commenting on the Turkish military operation in Syria, Borissov said: "I cannot support military actions." In his words, Ankara "must immediately end [fighting] and the great powers - the US should also participate - should make a decision and this war should end".

The Prime Minister also said: "We have always backed Turkey when it had problems with migration. We have always supported it because we are NATO allies and neighbours, Ankara staves off the migrant wave and we have always said 'Thank you'. But they cannot expect support for a war in which people are being killed."

Asked if Bulgaria will stop its arms exports to Turkey, Borissov said: "We will consider this and I will let you know." He added that Bulgaria exports arms worth about 3 million US dollars to Turkey and could do without this revenue.


Commenting on relations between Bulgaria and North Macedonia, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Krassimir Karakachanov Thursday told reporters that Sofia is ready to compromise if Skopje stops "falsifying history, ends its anti-Bulgarian policy and stops harassing the people who call themselves Bulgarians in Macedonia". He added: "France's refusal to set a date for EU accession talks with North Macedonia showed I was quite right to propose a firm and categorical position."

He said that despite its Treaty of Friendship, Goodneighbourliness and
Cooperation with Bulgaria, North Macedonia only recently had a national holiday marking "the uprising against the Bulgarian fascist invader".

Karakachanov said his sources told him that nothing had been agreed by the Joint Multidisciplinary Commission of Experts on Historical and Educational Issues between the two countries, which met again two days ago. DS/DD

Source: Brussels