Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva: All European leaders support the idea of establishing long-term relationships with the Western Balkans16 May 2018 | 12:55 | FOCUS News Agency
“One of the most valuable things of the Sofia Summit are the numerous side events like this one, which provide us with the opportunity not only to listen to political speeches but also to connect politics with non-governmental organisations, social partners, economic experts. As a neighbouring country, it is our priority to monitor how quickly the six countries of the Western Balkans are moving on their way to the EU. It was very difficult to convince the other EU member states that working with the Western Balkans is a win-win situation for both sides. It is important not only for the Western Balkan countries but also for the citizens of the EU member states,” she said.
“All 28 European leaders are in Sofia for the summit tomorrow, and all of them support the Sofia Declaration that long-term relations with the Western Balkans should be established on issues related to economic development, connectivity, security, democracy,” she added.
“15 years after the meeting in Thessaloniki, we can still see and feel the results of the decisions made there, three of the then negotiating countries are already part of the EU – Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania, and 4 of the 6 Balkan countries are now candidates. I agree that the expectations for the summit tomorrow are very high. If we only make promises but do not act, the disappointment for the political leaders of the Western Balkan countries and their citizens will be great. This, of course, depends also on them, we can only support them in their decisions and provide them with tools,” Minister Zaharieva said.
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