Ten days saven capitals – this was Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov’s Balkan shuttle that ended May 14. The Standart asked the No.1 Diplomat about the role that Sofia plays on the Balkans.

– Today, the prospects are not as bright as it was when Bulgaria, Romania and the central European countries tabled EU accession bids. More active cooperation and dialogue is needed between the EU member states and the counties that want to join the bloc. More attention should be paid to all open issues concerning the Balkan region, because when a country joins the EU, it should not bring in its problems, as well. On the contrary, the newcomers should contribute to the security and prosperity of the region.

– Macedonia voiced remarks as regards the Bulgarian draft of the treaty for good neighborly relations. What is actually the apple of discord between the two countries?

– There are some points of discord but I would not say they are insurmountable. The document is very important but it is not mandatory. The important stage will begin after it is signed because it will lead to better cooperation between the countries. Its significance lies in demonstrating the will of the two countries to work together. Through cooperation only we can solve the problems on the Balkans and really move forward.

– The common thing for all these countries is the apparent need for more concentrated attention of the EU. Bulgaria is a country which is close to its neighbors, is aware of the problems but, on the other hand, it has walked the path. For this reason our allies from both the EU and NATO have repeated “be closer with the region surrounding you”.  These are countries we have tightest contacts with, where we are familiar with the traditions, with the actual problems. So, there is a real opportunity for Bulgaria to take a leading role but I would not like it to be seen as rivalry typical of the 19th century, like “who will lead the company”. If we manage to share our experience, the lessons we have learnt and thus help our neighbours, then the role of a more significant factor on the Balkans will follow naturally.

Read the article on Standart

Bulgaria Is Far Ahead of Its Balkan Neighbors

Ten days saven capitals – this was Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov’s Balkan shuttle that ended May 14. The Standart asked the No.1 Diplomat about the role that Sofia plays on the Balkans.

– Today, the prospects are not as bright as it was when Bulgaria, Romania and the central European countries tabled EU accession bids. More active cooperation and dialogue is needed between the EU member states and the counties that want to join the bloc. More attention should be paid to all open issues concerning the Balkan region, because when a country joins the EU, it should not bring in its problems, as well. On the contrary, the newcomers should contribute to the security and prosperity of the region.

– Macedonia voiced remarks as regards the Bulgarian draft of the treaty for good neighborly relations. What is actually the apple of discord between the two countries?

– There are some points of discord but I would not say they are insurmountable. The document is very important but it is not mandatory. The important stage will begin after it is signed because it will lead to better cooperation between the countries. Its significance lies in demonstrating the will of the two countries to work together. Through cooperation only we can solve the problems on the Balkans and really move forward.

– The common thing for all these countries is the apparent need for more concentrated attention of the EU. Bulgaria is a country which is close to its neighbors, is aware of the problems but, on the other hand, it has walked the path. For this reason our allies from both the EU and NATO have repeated “be closer with the region surrounding you”.  These are countries we have tightest contacts with, where we are familiar with the traditions, with the actual problems. So, there is a real opportunity for Bulgaria to take a leading role but I would not like it to be seen as rivalry typical of the 19th century, like “who will lead the company”. If we manage to share our experience, the lessons we have learnt and thus help our neighbours, then the role of a more significant factor on the Balkans will follow naturally.

Read the article on Standart

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