Bulgaria welcomes the decision on March 24 by European Union foreign ministers to give the green light for starting the EU accession negotiation process with the Republic of North Macedonia and Albania, Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said.
“Bulgaria has always been a strong supporter of the EU perspective of both countries,” Zaharieva said in a message on Twitter.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the decision was “great news” for the Western Balkans and the EU.
Von der Leyen expressed hope that EU leaders would endorse the decision this week. “The future of the Western Balkans lies in the EU,” she said.
The decision by the EU foreign ministers, taken in a videoconference meeting because of the Covid-19 pandemic, was unanimous. It requires the endorsement of the European Council. No proposed date for the formal start of talks has yet been announced.
North Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov said: “Despite all hurdles, our sense of endurance and resolve prevailed”.
He expressed thanks to his country’s EU friends for recognising this, and thanked all in the country who worked hard “and never ceased believing”.
“The EU’s decision at this dire time is a symbol of its true strength,” Dimitrov said.