The countries of the Balkan Peninsula must understand that we will only be strong if we stand together. This is all we need to move forward, Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov said at the 18th Bled Strategic Forum.
“I will be more than happy that the next time we meet in this body, all the countries outside the European Union (EU) here have already started accession negotiations,” Denkov said.
“The Balkans are a common economic and geographical region, I hope they will become one politically as well. But our countries have a lot of homework to do. After all, the EU is not just a geographical union. It is based on values that unite us,” he said.
Denkov said that everyone was looking at Bulgaria and asking why it was stopping North Macedonia on its way to the EU because of the issue of the constitutional amendments.
“But the question can be asked in another way: Why is it a problem that Bulgarians are part of the list of nations included in the constitution of North Macedonia,” he said.
“This is a political problem that is now part of the negotiations between North Macedonia and the European Union. I hope it will be resolved as written in the European proposal of 2022.”
Denkov said that Bulgaria also has “homework” to deal with in order to convince the Netherlands and Austria, which are blocking Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen visa zone.
He said that Bulgaria’s government has a list of tasks and a schedule according to which these tasks must be fulfilled.
“We want to do our homework 100 per cent to make sure that when we negotiate, there won’t be anything in our country that they say is wrong,” Denkov said.
Since its establishment in 2005, the Bled Strategic Forum, an intergovernmental project of the Republic of Slovenia, organised by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Centre for European Future, has been a leading conference in Central and Southeastern Europe.
It enables representatives of various fields – diplomacy, politics, economics, private and public sector and academia – to discuss key challenges in the 21st century and find innovative solutions to regional and global challenges.
This year, the international conference is held under the title “Solidarity for Global Security”. The 18th forum also includes activities related to raising funds for the victims of the catastrophic floods in Slovenia in August this year.
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