Deputy Prime Minister for Judicial Reform and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva conferred with EU Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Commissioner Vĕra Jourová, who is visiting Sofia.
The two discussed the judicial reform, the progress under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, and the upcoming Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Jourová assessed in positive terms the raising of the question about the European perspective of the Western Balkans by the upcoming Bulgarian Presidency.
“Our opinion is that we must extend a hand to those countries so that our efforts, in terms of investments but also in terms of political progress, could reach ordinary people. Otherwise, we will lose the Western Balkans for the European family,” Minister Zaharieva warned. She added that the six countries of the region applying for accession to the EU should be considered on their individual merits and should not be lumped together. “Otherwise, the advanced candidates are demotivated and the laggards gain nothing,” she emphasised.
“A political debate on the Western Balkans is forthcoming at the European Council, and the specific knowledge that Bulgaria possesses on the matter is therefore exceedingly important to us. You may rest assured that I will relay your message in Brussels,” Commissioner Jourová said.