Bulgarian PM in Albania: Entire Balkans Must Join EU, NATO

Diplomacy | October 22, 2012, Monday // 16:26|  views

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov is visiting Albania on Monday and Tuesday, as the two Balkan countries are looking to deepen their economic relations. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Bulgaria's government has always insisted that all Balkan countries must join NATO and the EU, Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, declared in Albania.

Borisov spoke in Tirana Monday, during a joint press conference with his Albanian counterpart, Sali Ram Berisha.

He stressed his Cabinet and the country adhere consistently to a balanced diplomacy and to the opinion that all on the Balkans must become EU Member States, including Albania, Kosovo and Serbia. Borisov gave as example Bulgaria being among the first to recognize Kosovo and to ask for alleviating visa regimes for Balkan countries, and the first to support Macedonia for EU accession.

He noted that Bulgaria should always be remembered for its contribution to peace on the Balkans, which some fail to do, and thanked Berisha for appreciating these efforts.

On his part, the Albanian PM declared he was a strong supporter of every Albanian citizen being free to decide on their own ethnicity as a golden standard all should follow.

His statement came as a reply to a question from a Bulgarian journalist if Albanian citizens who define themselves as Bulgarians would receive the status of official minority in order to obtain more rights.

"In Albania, there are no restrictions in ethnic self-determination. There are no limits for these Albanian citizens who want to position themselves for what they are, or for what they want to be. We are for the ethnic belonging that would lead us faster towards Europe," Sali Berisha said.

During the 2-day official trip to Albania, Borisov and the official delegation will sign bilateral cooperation agreements in the fields of science and education, culture, economy and the readmission of illegal immigrants.

Possibilities for expanding Bulgaria's presence on the Albanian market include exports of wine, furniture, cigarettes, medications, and oil products. There is an increased Albanian interest in tourism in Bulgaria, including sea, mountain and SPA resorts. The number of Albanians vacationing in Bulgaria in the first half of 2012 is 26% higher, compared to the same period of 2011.

Bulgarian and Albanian business representatives are also to hold talks Monday evening.

The delegation includes the Ministers of Regional Development, Lilyana Pavlova, of Culture, Vezhdi Rashidov, of Economy and Energy, Delyan Dobrev, Deputy Interior Minister Veselin Vuchkov and the Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova.

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Tags: official delegation, Albania, Sali Ram Berisha, agreements, Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, Lilyana Pavlova, Vezhdi Rashidov, Delyan Dobrev, Yordanka Fandakova, Tirana, Berisha, agreements, exports, tourism, economy, culture, education, readmission, immigrants, EU, NATO, Balkans, Veselin Vuchkov


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