The November 23 joint meeting in Strumica of the governments of Bulgaria and Macedonia was proof of the development of relations between the two countries, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said.
“We signed nine co-operation agreements. I am convinced that in a few months we will be able to reduce roaming prices and people will be able to converse without worries,” Borissov said in a Facebook post.
He emphasised the importance of Transport Corridor Number 8, saying that it was vital for the region.
The meeting to discuss projects leading to concrete results of bilateral co-operation was negotiated at the signing of the Treaty on Friendship, Co-operation and Good Neighbourliness on August 1 2017, a move achieved after several years of efforts to agree on the treaty.
The construction of Corridor No. 8 will contribute to the development of tourism, economy and business not only in Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia, but in all Balkan countries, Borissov and his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev said, according to a Bulgarian government statement.
Borissov said that not only was there understanding for the significance of the project, but also there was interest in financing the project among international financial institutions.
“This is an optimistic fact. I hope that the process will become irreversible in the next few years,” Borissov said.
He noted that a meeting of the leaders of the Western Balkan countries with representatives of the World Bank will be held in Sofia on December 6 and 7.
Borisov said, through the construction of infrastructure projects in the region, co-operation in the field of communications and energy means more investment and income for all citizens.
“People want that, and we are obliged to provide them with them. We must have roads in the Balkans. When money is invested in construction, there are no wars,” he said.
At a jointnews conference, the two prime ministers agreed that the November 23 meeting is a good basis for developing trade and economic ties between countries.
“The prospect of Macedonia’s membership of Nato and the EU continues to be the main engine for reforms in the country, we continue to work hard in this direction. Thanks for the help of the Bulgarian colleagues who will provide consultation to us, and so we will continue to build friendship,” Zaev said.
According to Borissov, the time of the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the EU, as well as the next few presidencies, should be used to move forward the question of the integration of the Western Balkans into the EU.
“We want to go on with real steps. They may be smaller but visible,” Borissov said.
In the presence of the two Prime Ministers, nine documents were signed on bilateral co-operation in the fields of foreign policy, investment, energy, defence, tourism, telecommunications, infrastructure and disaster response.