Speaking in Brussels on June 24, Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov welcomed as “really responsible” the vote by Parliament earlier in the day to mandate the government to accept, subject to conditions, the French proposal towards removing Bulgaria’s veto on North Macedonia entering talks to join the EU.
In Friday’s vote, the National Assembly accepted a proposal by the Democratic Bulgaria coalition, which specified various conditions Bulgaria wants for the process to go ahead.
Petkov, in the Belgian capital for a meeting of the European Council, said that he had to thank a lot of people who had helped to achieve this result.
“I start with Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska, who said clearly, despite pressure from the (ITN) party that nominated her to say something else – she said clearly that this is the best solution for Bulgaria. I thank her for her courage despite Slavi Trifonov’s Facebook posts,” Petkov said.
He also thanked the MPs, who, in his words, “have gathered the necessary support for such a responsible decision.”
Petkov said that all European leaders had congratulated Bulgaria on taking a pro-European position – from French President Emmanuel Macron, European Council President Charles Michel and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
GERB MP and former foreign minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said on Twitter: “Today is a good day for Europe, North Macedonia and Bulgaria.
“Parliament approved the negotiations framework with (North Macedonia). I call on the Prime Minister to execute immediately our decision. Now Mr. Kiril Petkov has no one to blame,” Zaharieva said.
The Bulgarian Socialist Party’s executive bureau and parliamentary group said that the BSP had not supported the lifting of the veto on North Macedonia.
“There is not a single vote FOR from the BSP for Bulgaria parliamentary group. All allegations that we have betrayed the national interest are lies. We will not allow anyone to clear their guilty conscience of unprincipled agreements with lies and manipulations about the BSP.
“Macedonia was a red line for us and we did not cross it. Our position is consistent and principled,” the BSP said.
ITN leader Trifonov issued a lengthy and vulgar diatribe on Facebook about the decision, while pro-Russian Vuzrazhdane leader Kostadin Kostadinov described the day as one of “betrayal” of Bulgaria. The 170 MPs who voted in favour of the move were “traitors,” Kostadinov said.
(Photo of Petkov in Brussels on June 24: Council of the EU)
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