Bulgaria and Croatia will defend the territorial integrity of all the countries in the region, including Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia’s foreign minister Vesna Pusić said in Sofia after talks with her Bulgarian counterpart Daniel Mitov.
Mitov said that the Balkan countries have common future.
“We would oppose categorically any attempts at destabilisation,” Mitov said.
Pusić said that one of the big advantages of the EU is the possibility for countries from the same region, though not immediate neighbours, to have a de facto political responsibility for its stability.
She underlined that Bulgaria and Romania had a lot of common interests – from energy and transport infrastructure, relations with the eastern and southern neighbours, to economic strengthening, enlargement and stability of South Eastern Europe.
Co-operation has already begun on those points, Pusić said, and would be solidified through the two countries’ agreements on joint interests in the region.
She said co-operation also included other EU member states from the wider region in matters of economy, energy, transport, security and stability.
“We believe it is important to keep Southeast Europe on the agenda as a region of future EU member states. Our countries have guaranteed European prospects and in that Croatia and Bulgaria see a joint interest,” Pusić said, underscoring the importance of territorial integrity of all the countries in the region.
She said it was a country-specific tailor-made approach, mentioning Macedonia as the most sensitive point of the region which required engagement by other EU member states as well.
Pusić said that what Macedonia needed was stability and protection of human, civil and ethnic rights, which can be achieved only through co-operation.
She said that Croatia had established the Centre of Excellence, which gathers people who have participated in Croatia’s EU entry talks and co-operate with state officials from all countries in the region, including Macedonia.
“I shared our concerns and the Bulgarian position that a clear and firm commitment of the entire EU is needed in the process of the country’s exit from the political crisis and in the entire transition period until the establishment of a lasting political stability guaranteeing both the civil and inter-ethnic peace in the Republic of Macedonia, as well as the country’s territorial integrity,” Mitov said, as quoted by BTA.
Mitov said that it is even more important to use the crisis as an opportunity to launch actual reforms, without which the negotiations on entry into the EU cannot start.
The two ministers also discussed other common topics and interests, such as entering the Schengen area, entering the euro area and the development of a strategy for entering a single digital market. The talks also focused on a large European investment project launched by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Croatia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
(Photo: Croatian foreign ministry)