The European integration of the region cannot be complete without Kosovo participating in this process, Bulgarian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Marin Raykov said on May 15 2013 at a joint news conference with Kosovo prime minister Hashim Thaçi, who was on a one-day working visit to the country.
“The agreement signed in April to normalise relations between Priština and Belgrade gives us hope for the future of the two countries in the EU,” Raykov said, adding that Bulgaria strongly supports the opening of negotiations between Kosovo and the European Commission on the signing of a Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
Thaçi said that the main goal of Kosovo was to join the European and Euro-Atlantic structures as soon as possible, while building good neighbourly relations with all countries of the region.
“We cannot be good partners in the EU and Nato if we are not good partners with our neighbours,” he said.
The two prime ministers agreed to begin preparations for the signing of a memorandum of co-operation between Bulgaria and Kosovo in the field of European integration.
“As an EU member state, Bulgaria is called on to assist in achieving the European perspective of the Western Balkans,” Raykov said.
Raykov and Thaçi also discussed bilateral economic relations and opportunities to deepen them.
“Although the trends being seen are positive, we must work to accelerate the pace, as this will also help the development of infrastructure between the two countries,” Raykov said.
Thaçi also was received by Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev, who also said that Bulgaria welcomed the April agreement between Serbia and Kosovo.
The agreement, Plevneliev said, had historical significance for realizing the European perspective of the Western Balkans, as well as the stability and prosperity of the entire region.
Plevneliev said that in spite of the problems, the EU should not underestimate the vital role that the enlargement process had in promoting democratic values in the region of the Western Balkans and South Eastern Europe.
Plevneliev said that Bulgaria would continue to share with Kosovo, as well as with other countries of the Western Balkans, this country’s experience in European integration. The President also stated Bulgaria’s support for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Kosovo.
Thaçi said that Kosovo was grateful for Bulgaria’s continued support for the implementation of his country’s Euro-Atlantic perspectives. Bulgaria had played an important role in Kosovo’s entry into the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Thaçi said.
Kosovo’s prime minister told Plevneliev that his country would continue to work to build friendly relations with Serbia and other countries in the region. The agreement between Kosovo and Serbia “opened a new page for the Western Balkans and is a precondition for the common European future of the region,” Thaçi said.
(Photo of Thaçi and Raykov: government.bg)