Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

World

Bulgaria, N.Macedonia sign deal clearing way for EU membership talks

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska and her North Macedonian counterpart Bujar Osmani exchange a signed deal in Sofia
Bulgarian Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska and her North Macedonian counterpart Bujar Osmani exchange a signed deal in Sofia - Copyright AFP Sakis MITROLIDIS
Bulgarian Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska and her North Macedonian counterpart Bujar Osmani exchange a signed deal in Sofia - Copyright AFP Sakis MITROLIDIS

EU member Bulgaria and North Macedonia on Sunday signed a deal in Sofia opening the way for European Union membership talks for the tiny Balkan nation and its Albanian neighbour.

North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski announced Saturday that Skopje had reached a compromise with Bulgaria in a long-running dispute, allowing them to start the membership talks.

EU member Bulgaria had until recently blocked any progress for such talks because of a dispute between the countries over linguistic and historical issues.

The dispute also stalled Albania’s bid to join the 27-nation bloc.

But last month the Bulgarian parliament agreed to lift its veto in exchange for EU guarantees that North Macedonia will meet certain demands on contentious issues.

North Macedonian Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani on Sunday hailed the “historic opportunity” at the signing ceremony for his country to start EU membership talks. 

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said on Twitter: “We will do our best to start the intergovernmental conferences on accession negotiations in Brussels with North Macedonia as well as Albania as soon as possible.”

“The agreement contains ambitious measures to sort out unresolved bilateral issues,” said Bulgarian Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska, who warned that ironing out those issues could take “months or years”.

The strategic importance of the Western Balkans to the EU has increased since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

AFP
Written By

With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

You may also like:

Business

Smoking bans and the long-term impact of restrictions on our overall health has been a widely debated topic for decades.

Tech & Science

The AI-regulation law is an interesting step in mostly the right direction.

Entertainment

Michael C. Hall and Princess Goes release their new song and music video for "Beija (Live)."