The PM and Foreign Minister visited North Macedonia and declared the Bulgarian Community a “Priority”
“The Bulgarian community in the Republic of North Macedonia is a real priority,” said Prime Minister Kiril Petkov at a meeting at the Consulate General of Bulgaria in Bitola, BTA reported.
He called for hard work on both sides of the border to overcome all problems and make the Balkans a prosperous region.
The Bulgarian delegation met with representatives of Bulgarian organizations in the Republic of North Macedonia. The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, Deputy Prime Minister Iliana Yotova, Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska, her deputy Velislava Petrova, Ambassador to our southwestern neighbor Angel Angelov, MPs from several parliamentary groups and former 44th National Assembly Speaker Tsveta Karayancheva.
“My presence shows the commitment of our government, we must have unity on this issue. It is important for the Bulgarian interest that the RNM is part of the EU, we can not use this topic for domestic political purposes,” said Kiril Petkov, who attended the opening of the new club of the Cultural Center “Ivan Mihailov” in Bitola.
According to him, one should not think of pressure from anyone.
“The two governments are working hard on the issue, in Bulgaria, we have set the framework we have, it is important for us that the European future of the RNM be there,” added Kiril Petkov. We have very good communication on both sides of the border, said the Bulgarian Prime Minister.
According to the Prime Minister, the more joint activities the two neighboring countries have, the stronger the ties between business and citizens of the two countries, the better for good neighborly relations. The Prime Minister gave an example with the newly opened club of the Ivan Mihailov Cultural Center in Bitola, which also provides another opportunity for good neighborliness. Petkov stressed that it is important for the Balkans to have stability and for people to have a common understanding that together they can do much more, otherwise, nothing can be achieved.
“In order for the Republic of North Macedonia to be part of the European family, the rights of Bulgarians must be respected,” said Vice President Iliana Yotova. According to her, the visit of today's delegation shows the national consensus reached on the topic.
According to her, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov should take measures to prevent his advisory team from pursuing a second foreign policy, as this would be dangerous and alarming.
“Because we will be embarrassed in front of our European partners and no one will take Bulgaria seriously. This is the strongest consensus we have in the country regarding the membership of the RNM. There are two ways - European procedures will begin, Bulgaria must find serious instruments to ask from the European Commission so that in the whole process Bulgaria has enough guarantees that our conditions will be taken into account”, commented Iliana Yotova.
According to Yotova, the most important thing at the moment is to have serious actions and fulfillment of the commitments of the authorities in the Republic of North Macedonia.
“Since 2017, when the Good Neighbour Agreement was signed, a lot of time has been wasted to report that today it is almost non-existent. When we receive this evidence, Bulgaria will prepare its national position, which we will defend before the European institutions. The membership of the RNM is going through an open path between the two countries, there is no way forward through pressure, as many countries hope, for this to happen. We need to clear up all the controversial issues. Bulgaria has no intention of bringing another conflict into the European Union in this difficult crisis situation,” Iliana Yotova added.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodora Genchovska called for the inclusion of the Bulgarians in the RNM’s constitution in order to respect their rights.
“My goal is to inspire confidence in the Bulgarians in the RNM and to do everything possible to ensure that they are included in the Constitution of this country. We have the same position with the Prime Minister. He must unify his position with his foreign policy team,” Genchovska said after the opening of the new club of the Cultural Center “Ivan Mihailov” in Bitola.
During his visit, Prime Minister Petkov and ministers from the government of the Republic of North Macedonia will visit the Bitola-Elbasan interconnector. According to him, Bulgaria will be able to sell electricity to the entire region, all the way to Italy. The construction of the transmission line is in fact a realization of the energy segment of Corridor № 8. “These corridors give the added value that we all hope to have in our joint work,” said Prime Minister Kiril Petkov.
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