We can count on Bulgaria’s support on your way towards EU membership, said Speaker of the Parliament Dimitar Glavchev in a statement after meeting with Maja Gojkovic, President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia.
A Bulgarian parliamentary delegation, led by the Speaker of the Parliament, is on a three-day official visit to the Republic of Serbia. Dimitar Glavchev has addressed the MPs in the Serbian National Assembly.
Bulgaria has made a lot of efforts to bring back to the EU agenda the topic of integration of Western Balkan countries, said Dimitar Glavchev. He explained that this would be among the main priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, starting from January 2018.
I can see your ultimate intention to make the necessary reforms and meet the requirements and criteria for membership, said the Speaker of the Bulgarian Parliament, and added that with more will and accelerated preparation, Serbia would be able to join the Union earlier than the initial term. We are ready to help, share the experience, mistakes and difficulties we have been through, said Dimitar Glavchev.
Serbia’s main goal now is EU membership and our country counts on Bulgaria’s experience and support on the way to that goal, said Maja Gojkovic. Despite the challenges that Europe is facing today, the enlargement of the Union is very important, especially for the countries from the Western Balkans, she emphasised. In her words, the Western Balkans are part of the solution and not the problem.
The President of the Serbian National Assembly expressed her hope that Serbia would join the EU earlier than 2025, as previously determined. Maja Gojkovic thanked Bulgaria for the support our country had been giving to Serbia on its way to EU membership and emphasised that Serbia would continue counting on Bulgaria’s assistance. We believe that we will be able to fulfil the criteria much earlier than 2025, complete the necessary reforms and meet the requirements for EU membership, she added.
Bulgaria’s attitude to its minority is exemplary: there is no Bulgarian statesman who, visiting Serbia, has not asked about the Bulgarian national minority, said Maja Gojkovic. I am glad that your visit started from the municipalities where the representatives of the Bulgarian national minority live, she added.
The Speaker of the Parliament said that he had informed the President of the Serbian Parliament about his meetings with representatives of the Bulgarian national minority in Dimitrovgrad, Bosilegrad and Nis. I have been assured that the legislative framework regulating the minority issues is in place, but there are problems in Bosilegrad at a local level, he said. I am confident that together we can resolve those problems by attracting investments and supporting the economic development of the municipality to curb the depopulation trend, said Dimitar Glavchev.
In his words, thanks to the efforts made in the past two years, problems of the Bulgarian national minority, that have accumulated for years and are rather the result of the totalitarian regimes in the two countries, have begun to clear up. We welcome the Serbian government’s efforts to overcome the problems because for the first time in 30 years there are 26 textbooks printed in Bulgarian and another 14 are pending, said the Speaker of the Parliament. I believe that the problems can be solved with common will, he added. “I believe that Bulgaria and Serbia have a common pathway in united Europe”, wrote the Speaker of the Parliament in the book of honour of the Serbian Parliament.
Members of the parliamentary delegation are Pavel Shopov, Deputy Chair of the Bulgaria-Serbia Friendship Group, Konstantin Popov, Tasko Ermenkov and Velislava Krusteva, members of the Friendship Group, and Gergana Stefanova, Chair of the parliamentary group of VOLYA political party.