The Bulgarian position at the European Council in December, during which the start of negotiations between the European Union (EU) and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is planned for discussion, will entirely depend on how the government in Skopje continues or changes its current line of behaviour towards Bulgaria. This is what the Bulgarian foreign minister, Nikolay Mladenov, said in parliament, responding to questions from MPs.
In addition, Mladenov clarified that Bulgaria was not blocking FYROM’s EU integration because ‘it is the country that has the highest interest in FYROM making its way to the EU, fulfilling the criteria laid down in EU legislation’.
He also emphasised that his country, more than any other, could understand the aspirations of the candidate for EU membership for benefitting from the same advantages and opportunities which Bulgarian citizens already could after their country joined the Union in 2007.The foreign minister also expressed the regret that bilateral relations with FYROM had a tendency of development, contradicting to the signed in 1999 joint declaration on the principles of good neighbourliness. In his words, the basis of this tendency was the interpretation of history in a highly nationalistic spirit.
Nevertheless, Mladenov emphasised that the security of the candidate country, the stability of its society and the development of its citizens was in the interest of the entire region. He also pointed out that FYROM’s EU integration depended on the efforts of its government.
In the beginning of October in its enlargement package, the European Commission recommended for a fourth time opening of accession negotiations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.