A day after Bulgaria and Serbia summoned each other’s ambassadors over the controversy over Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić’s remarks about his Bulgarian counterpart Boiko Borissov’s comments on Kosovo and EU foreign policy, Borissov held talks on the issue on July 9 with Serbian PM Ana Brnabić.
The controversy began when Borissov said that the EU foreign policy chief-designate, Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, should defend EU foreign policy on Kosovo, rather than that of Madrid, which does not recognise Kosovo as independent.
Dačić hit back at Borissov, saying that EU foreign policy was that Kosovo was not independent. Of the current 28 EU member states, 23 recognise Kosovo as independent while five do not.
Bulgarian National Television reported Borissov as saying on July 9, after reiterating that he loved Serbia and saw Serbians as friends: “How can you understand me this way? I have always said, ‘you have to reach an understanding with Kosovo’. I have never said anything different. We are summoning ambassadors, we are acting…and I have not said anything”.
Speaking at a summit of South Eastern European countries, Borissov said that the tension between Sofia and Belgrade was an example of a Balkan stunt, which would not be acceptable to the European Union.
He turned to Brnabić: “What does your Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić want?”
The Serbian Foreign Ministry has released a statement after summoning the chargé d’affaires of the Bulgarian embassy, Iva Kruleva, on July 8. The statement in effect reiterated the initial comments by Dačić on Borissov’s remarks.
The ministry said that Kruleva was summon to clarify the situation that arose after Borissov’s statements.
“It was emphasised once more that this statement by Prime Minister Borissov is unacceptable, because it is not correct, and concerns the most important issues for each country, issues of territorial integrity. This statement is not in accordance with the expectations of the Republic of Serbia regarding friendly and good neighbourly relations. It was reiterated that Serbia hopes that such statements will not be repeated in the future. The EU’s position is that Kosovo is not independent, and that should be respected by all”.
The Republic of Serbia’s readiness to continue developing and deepening the good neighborly relations with Bulgaria was reiterated, and once again gratitude was expressed for Bulgaria’s support for Serbia on the road to the EU, the statement said.
(Archive photo: Brnabić and Borissov in November 2018)