Macron: Thank you Bulgaria, Congratulations North MacedoniaEU | June 24, 2022, Friday // 18:34| views
Resigned Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov (left) and French President Emmanuel Macron (right)
French President Emmanuel Macron thanked Bulgaria and congratulated North Macedonia on the decision voted by the National Assembly on Friday to accept the French compromise to lift the veto for the start of negotiations on Skopje's EU membership.
"I thank the Bulgarian Prime Minister, the coalition partners and the opposition parties that voted (the decision). Congratulations to North Macedonia on progress. There is still work to be done, but it is still progress," Macron told a news conference at the end of the EU summit in Brussels.
Late Thursday, Emmanuel Macron called on Bulgarian politicians to support the French compromise proposal, saying it was their European duty.
The French president said the presidency would continue talks with Bulgaria and North Macedonia in the coming days, and that he was ready to quickly formalize a decision to begin talks with Albania and North Macedonia by the end of June when the French presidency ends.
Resigned Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said that the French compromise has the support of the other EU countries and now the issue is to be accepted by Skopje:
"Bulgaria has taken its step and European leaders appreciate this. Bulgarian demands are now becoming European and it is time for the government of North Macedonia to lead its nation forward," Petkov said after the summit.
He expressed confidence that "with the help of the European nation and NATO partners, difficulties will be overcome" and the government will accept the compromise.
The Bulgarian Prime Minister also said that in his opinion the proposal is good for Skopje as well, as it will allow the start of negotiations and will protect the rights of all communities in the country, and that "this is to be a European country".
Petkov also thanked the deputies, saying that the way the decision was made was correct "for such a responsible decision", as well as Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska, that despite the opinion of her party “There Is Such a People” from which she came, "she said clearly, that this is the best offer."
European political community
Emmanuel Macron announced that the first meeting on his initiative to create a European political community would be held by the end of the year, which would unite the EU partners regardless of the level of European integration they are in.
He explained that the initiative is not a substitute for enlargement, but that it will be used to discuss strategic issues such as security, defense, energy, health crises, and economic solidarity.
The summit will be co-organized with the Czech EU presidency, which begins on July 1st, and will invite leaders "from Iceland to Ukraine", including Britain, which left the EU last year, and European Economic Area countries, from the Western Balkans, as well as the Eastern Partnership, to discuss strategic issues of common interest.
Macron did not rule out the possibility of the initiative being institutionalized and becoming a forum for discussions on strategic issues.
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