“All States in the region are looking forward to your Presidency of the Council of the EU. We can see your support at every turn. Thank you.” The President of the Parliament of Montenegro Ivan Brajović addressed these words to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva. The chief Bulgarian diplomat welcomed the guest at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sofia today.
Brajović is paying an official visit to Bulgaria, the first by a head of the Montenegrin Parliament to this country. He is accompanied by Member of Parliament Tarzan Milošević, who chairs the Montenegro-Bulgaria Friendship Group in the Montenegrin Parliament.
“We stand a unique chance of achieving a lot during the next two years because all three Member States that will hold the Council Presidency after us: Austria, Romania and Croatia, also support the European integration of the Western Balkans,” Ekaterina Zaharieva said. “You are a positive example that must be encouraged and not discouraged. I am your advocate.”
“We are very happy to have such an advocate. I expect that we will open all negotiating chapters during the Bulgarian Presidency,” Ivan Brajović replied.
Minister Zaharieva recalled that thanks to the sustained efforts of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and the entire Government, the subject of the European perspective of the Western Balkans has been reidentified as an EU priority. She warned that this may lead to excessive expectations of the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU Council, but this country will endeavour that each of the six States in the region which want to join the Union will receive a positive signal on the strength of its own merits and progress.
“I strongly hope that during its Presidency Bulgaria will push this process to a point from which it cannot be reversed,” Brajović answered, stressing that his country is grateful to Bulgaria for supporting its accession to NATO.
“All the efforts of Bulgaria are entirely selfless. I believe that the European perspective keeps the Balkans stable,” Minister Zaharieva pointed out.
Ivan Brajović was the first president of the Parliament of Montenegro to visit Bulgaria since the re-establishment of his country’s statehood. He and Minister Zaharieva discussed ways for enhancing bilateral economic cooperation, as well as a number of issues on the international agenda.