Bulgarian Speaker of Parliament: North Macedonia should Not Waste Time but should fulfill the Criteria for EU Membership
"Bulgaria believes that the Republic of North Macedonia will be a full member of the European Union based on its own contribution. We believe that they will fulfill the conditions of membership and should not waste time, because the worst thing is to waste time that will turn into skepticism. They need quick decisive acts and definite decisions without looking for the reason outside of themselves. It is very important that the reasons, intentions and successes are theirs."
This was stated in an interview for BGNES by the Speaker of the National Assembly Rosen Zhelyazkov after the end of his visit to the Vatican and Italy on the occasion of May 24 - the Day of the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius, the Bulgarian alphabet and culture.
During his visit, the Speaker of Parliament had an audience with Pope Francis, talks with the Secretary of State of the Vatican, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and with the President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament, Lorenzo Fontana.
At the same time, a delegation of the Macedonian Assembly was in Rome led by its president, Talat Xhaferi. The two delegations jointly laid wreaths in front of the Bulgarian and Macedonian plaques in the "Santa Maria Maggiore" basilica, in which the Slavic books were officially recognized by Pope Adrian II.
During his talks with the officials in the Vatican and Rome, Rosen Zhelyazkov touched on the topic of our relations with the Republic of North Macedonia and the political processes in the Western Balkans.
"The Western Balkans are extremely important for Italy and for the Holy See, because this is an area that gives rise to opportunities for historical conflicts," emphasized the Speaker of the Parliament. He pointed out that resolving the tensions that exist with our neighbors is a topic that "passes and finds its solution only and only through the full integration of the countries of the Balkan Peninsula".
The Bulgarian position on the RNM is of particular interest to the Vatican and Italy, especially the topics that were raised recently at the meeting in Reykjavik.
"We have stated that our position remains unchanged. The RNM should start and finish the negotiation process as soon as possible and become a full member on the basis of the so-called own contribution. I.e. the decision should be with a view to fulfilling the criteria for membership and successful completion of the negotiation process, and not because of the political decision in itself," Rosen Zhelyazkov was categorical.
He noted that the condition set by the European Commission for the constitutional change, which includes the Bulgarians as a nation-building nation within the framework of the RNM, is important for Bulgaria. "This is an absolute prerequisite for the start of negotiations. This is not our bilateral issue, this is a condition that was set and recorded in the conditions for the start of the negotiations and is monitored by the EC," added the chairman of the National Assembly.
Zhelyazkov stated that Bulgaria's position is not related to setting conditions or obstructing the process itself: "The conditions were set by the EC and it is important for us that they be fulfilled because they are related to the rights of Bulgarians in the RNM".
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