FM: Bulgaria Stands behind Macedonia's EU BidDiplomacy | January 10, 2014, Friday // 17:13| views
Macedonia's Foreign Affairs Minister Nikola Poposki (R) welcomes his Bulgarian counterpart Kristian Vigenin (L) in Skopje. Photo by the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Bulgaria supports the future membership of Macedonia in the European Union, but there are outstanding bilateral issues to be ironed out beforehand, stated Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Kristian Vigenin.
Friday Vigenin is on an official visit to Skopje at the invitation of his Macedonian counterpart Nikola Poposki.
"It is a honor for me that my first visit abroad - one that will be full of challenges - is a visit to Macedonia," said the Bulgarian top diplomat.
Vigenin and Poposki discussed a number of issues of bilateral significance and stressed that the two countries can do more to tap mutual potential in the field of the economy, transportation and infrastructure.
A Macedonian-Bulgarian business forum is being held in Skopje parallel to the offficial meetings.
On his part, Vigenin gave a lecture at the Macedonian Minsitry of Foreign Affairs, entitled "The EU and the Western Balkans - the Challenges of 2014."
In it, he stressed that Macedonia can expect a lot from the current Greek and the following Italian presidency of the EU, which will take over for the second half of the year.
At the same time, Vigenin warned that Macedonia could face challenges, if May European elections give good results for eurosceptic nationalists, who as such are anti-enlargement.
The Bulgarian top diplomat also stressed that Bulgaria stands fully behind Macedonia's EU bid, but the two countries have to conclude a so-called Friendship Treaty.
Work on the treaty is ongoing at the sidelines of the two minsiters' meeting.
Bulgaria has requested to resolve a number of issues relating the two countries' shared historical and cultural heritage, as well as relating to Macedonian citizens defining themselves as Bulgarian.
Current EU president member state Greece, too, has a number of outstanding historical issues with Macedonia.
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