The creation of a connection between the countries of the Western Balkans and the European Union is one of the priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Bulgaria’s Ambassador in Bucharest Todor Churov said on Monday.
He participated in the launching event in Bucharest of the Presidency of the Council of the EU, which his country has officially taken over on Thursday. Among the challenges of this mandate, the diplomat said, there are also the establishment of the multiannual financial framework, as well as the migration matter.
“The Western Balkans will be the main focus of our Presidency,” Todor Churov pointed out. He said that Bulgaria’s goal, in the mandate as President of the Council of the EU, is to conclude as many European files, “acting impartially and transparently.”
“Europe has gone through consecutive crises. This made us focus on our own problems, instead of taking care of those besides us. Consequently, many of our partners, particularly those in the Western Balkans, have lost the hope that their European perspective is a realistic one,” Todor Churov detailed.
He said that on 17 May in Sofia there will take place a summit meant to bring to the same table EU leaders and Western Balkan countries leaders.
“I believe we have an important word to say in the creation of a strong connection between the Western Balkans and the European Union,” he highlighted. At the same time, Todor Churov said that, in the role of country holding the Council of the EU Presidency, “Bulgaria doesn’t want to create unrealistic expectations.”
“We are aware of the challenges. The countries in the Western Balkans aren’t a homogenous group – some are more advanced than others. Neither is there a common opinion on this matter. We must be by the side of the Western Balkans, offer them our support and commitment,” Todor Churov said.
Referring to migration, he brought to mind the different positions of the EU states on this topic. Moreover, the diplomat pointed out, the Bulgarian Presidency begins in the Brexit context, as well as in that of launching, as a first, the procedure to activate article 7 of the EU treaty, against Poland.
In his turn, attending the event, the Romanian Foreign Minister, Teodor Melescanu, underscored that “unity and cohesion are essential (…) in counteracting fragmentation and division that can erode the construction of the European Union.”
In the context in which Romania will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union next year, Melescanu spoke of an opportunity to promote the visibility and importance of the Black Sea and Danube regions.
“The Bulgarian Presidency will be followed by two other presidencies of the same region: Austria and Romania. This is a unique opportunity. We’ll be working together to promote these files at the level of European priorities,” the Romanian chief diplomat pointed out.
In her turn, the head of the European Commission Representation in Bucharest Angela Cristea made a call on the cohesion of the EU countries.
“We need all member states to get in line with the motto of the Bulgarian Presidency – ‘United We Stay Strong’,” Angela Cristea underscored.