There is no change in the position of Bulgaria on start of EU accession negotiations with North Macedonia at Tuesday’s meeting of the General Affairs Council (GAC), according to BNR, MIA’s Sofia correspondent reports.
The Bulgarian veto remains although, according to a diplomatic source, Bulgaria’s sharp position which has been planned for Tuesday’s GAC meeting hasn’t been expressed due to the tragedy that took place on the Struma highway.
Bulgaria’s Permanent Representative to the EU Rumen Alexandrov first offered his deepest condolences over the incident in which 45 Macedonian citizens were killed, and pointed out that North Macedonia still doesn’t meet the criteria for holding the first intergovernmental conference.
He added that Bulgaria in recent months has proposed a number of options to overcome outstanding issues as guarantees for the rights of people with Bulgarian self-awareness, as well as that North Macedonia needs to take on concrete binding commitments, some of which need to be met in the short-term, while others to be included in the requirements in the future negotiating framework. Alexandrov noted that until that happens, no progress can be expected.
Slovenian State Secretary for European Affairs, Gašper Dovžan noted that increased focus was placed at Tuesday’s GAC meeting on the Bulgarian – Macedonian dispute.
“I‘m glad there’s general support for the whole process, but there are still bilateral issues, particularly raised by Bulgaria. I hope that by the end of our EU Presidency we’ll be able to resolve the issues, this process must be positive,” said Dovžan.
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