Bulgaria to COREPER: Right Now there is No Way to Solve the Issue with North Macedonia
During the meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to the EU /COREPER/, which took place yesterday, there was a discussion on the preparation of the upcoming summits on July 23-24, 2022.
COREPER discussed the revised draft Framework Position on North Macedonia and the related draft conclusions. The Bulgarian representative thanked "for the diplomatic efforts made by the French Presidency, as well as for the understanding shown to the Bulgarian sensitivity on the topic by the EU partners". According to him, the proposal for the first time gives a serious answer to Bulgaria's concerns and could lead to a satisfactory solution, and for this reason the Bulgarian government has decided to present it for consideration by parliament.
As parliament has not yet made a decision, Bulgaria has expressed reservations about the proposal (the sitting of the parliamentary committee on foreign policy is scheduled for tomorrow at 15:00 p.m. Bulgarian time).
The Bulgarian representative stressed that the authorities in Sofia are working hard to find a solution to the dispute between the RNM and Bulgaria, but also drew attention to the complex political situation related to the vote of no confidence in the cabinet. He called for understanding and stressed that to date he could not express a final position, at least not until the end of the week.
Bulgaria is considering a package of three main elements - the negotiating framework for RNM, the Council conclusions and the bilateral protocol between Bulgaria and RNM. During the debate, it became clear that there was a preliminary agreement on the bilateral protocol, but it has not been signed yet. Bulgaria believes that it is very important that this happens in the coming days and stressed that the proposed wording for the language does not coincide with the Framework Position.
The Commission should report on the implementation of the RNM's commitments in the context of good neighborly relations before the intergovernmental conference and not during it. This will allow the Council's position to be prepared in a timely manner.
EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Oliver Varhelyi expressed full understanding of the domestic political situation in Bulgaria. During the discussion, several countries, including Sweden, expressed full support and understanding for Bulgaria's position. According to them, it is very important that the Council conclusions refer to an already signed bilateral protocol.
The meeting of the leaders of the EU and the countries of the Western Balkans will begin on July 23, 2024.
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