In Skopje the Head of State Called for Reducing the Delay in the Work of the Joint Bulgaria-North Macedonia Multidisciplinary Expert Commission
Rumen Radev noted that the bilateral good-neighborliness agreement with the Republic of North Macedonia should be included in North Macedonia’s EU accession documents
Bulgaria expects a new dynamics and reducing the delay in the work of the Joint Bulgaria-North Macedonia Multidisciplinary Expert Commission on historical and educational issues. This is what President Rumen Radev told journalists in Skopje today, after attending the inauguration ceremony of North Macedonian President Stevo Pendarovski. President Radev was the only Head of State of an EU member state and the first one to hold a bilateral meeting with Stevo Pendarovski after the latter took office. In Skopje the Bulgarian President also held a meeting with Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi.
It’s the Bulgarian President’s duty to attend the inauguration ceremony of the President of the fraternal Republic of North Macedonia, Rumen Radev said and identified the talks with the Parliament Speaker and with the new President Stevo Pendarovski as highly beneficial. “I expect a lot. We discussed a wide range of topics pertaining to the Republic of North Macedonia’s European and Euro-Atlantic prospects and our bilateral relations,” the Head of State emphasized.
In Rumen Radev’s words, Bulgaria should follow a European approach to the Republic of North Macedonia and support the country’s efforts to meet the EU membership criteria. The European and Euro-Atlantic integration of our south-west neighbor is essential for our country, the President added. “Because, as I told the two, we are the closest countries in the Balkans. The people from the two sides of the border share a common history, culture, religion and language. On the other hand, we should approach Macedonia on the basis of the European good-neighborliness values and apply the European principles and criteria when we defend our national interest,” the Head of State further emphasized.
Within the negotiations on signing the bilateral good-neighborliness agreement we have not pressurized the Republic of North Macedonia with regard to deadline ultimatums. However, we expect, as I clearly said today, that the activity of this commission should have a greater and broader range and it cannot continue forever, Rumen Radev commented. In his words, Bulgaria expects that everything that happens under the good neighborliness agreement enters the textbooks, books, the media and becomes part of the conscience and the attitudes of the people, because one day it may turn out that North Macedonia formally became part of the EU a long ago, but some controversial issues which cause problems still remain, which is not in line with the spirit of two EU member states.
“I think that in this respect both the Parliament Speaker and the new President show an understanding of these issues,” the President said. Therefore, in his words, Bulgaria should be a reliable EU member state, it should be guided by European principles and include the clauses of the bilateral good-neighborliness agreement in Chapter 35, so that the implementation of the agreement is part of the legal commitments of the Republic of North Macedonia, entered in its EU accession documents.
“This means that we strongly and categorically support the Republic of Macedonia’s European prospects. Of course, not absolutely, but there should be clear and straightforward conditions so that we can be absolutely predictable and know what direction we are heading in and what we require,” the Head of State said. These conditions should be wholly based on the European good-neighborliness principles and values, and on the established European mechanisms for defending the national interest. I think that thus we will have very good prospects, an efficient support on our part, so that we have an effectively, not formally united Europe, the President added.
At their meeting in Skopje, President Rumen Radev also invited President Stevo Pendarovski to visit Bulgaria.