The Friendship Treaty with the Republic of Macedonia may enter into force before the end of this year. This was announced during a meeting of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia Nikola Dimitrov in Strumica. The two chief diplomats will lobby the two countries’ parliaments to ratify the Treaty as soon as possible.
Zaharieva and Dimitrov conferred within the framework of a joint meeting of the governments of Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia.
“We congratulate the Bulgarian Government on laying the ratification of the Treaty before the National Assembly. I hope that we, too, will ratify it by the end of this year or early next year,” Nikola Dimitrov said. He thanked Zaharieva for a working breakfast devoted to the Republic of Macedonia, organised by her and by Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, which had taken place in Brussels a week earlier.
“I am very glad that our governments are meeting in Strumica today because we have not had an intergovernmental session for 18 years now,” Minister Zaharieva said. “I am an optimist about the European integration of the Balkans, now that Federica Mogherini and Jean-Claude Juncker have pledged their support, identifying the region as one of the European Commission’s foremost priorities.”
Even though the Friendship Treaty has not yet entered into force, Bulgaria is already taking practical measures in support of the Republic of Macedonia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs currently funds six projects at the cost of 380,000 euro. The first such project has already been implemented: the delivery of a motor vehicle for people with special needs.
The other projects target the integration of autistic children and energy renovation of Skopje’s largest school.
The two ministers discussed the funding of Pan-European Corridor VIII and the rest of the connectivity projects in the region.
In Strumica, Zaharieva and Dimitrov signed a Platform for Activation of Cooperation between the two foreign ministries.