Bulgaria, N.Macedonia sign deal clearing way for EU membership talks

Bulgaria, N.Macedonia sign deal clearing way for EU membership talks

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska and her North Macedonian counterpart Bujar Osmani exchange a signed deal in Sofia
Bulgarian Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska and her North Macedonian counterpart Bujar Osmani exchange a signed deal in Sofia. Photo: Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP
Source: AFP

New feature: Check out news exactly for YOU ➡️ find “Recommended for you” block and enjoy!

EU member Bulgaria and North Macedonia on Sunday signed a deal in Sofia opening the way for European Union membership talks for the tiny Balkan nation and its Albanian neighbour.

North Macedonia's Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski announced Saturday that Skopje had reached a compromise with Bulgaria in a long-running dispute, allowing them to start the membership talks.

EU member Bulgaria had until recently blocked any progress for such talks because of a dispute between the countries over linguistic and historical issues.

The dispute also stalled Albania's bid to join the 27-nation bloc.

But last month the Bulgarian parliament agreed to lift its veto in exchange for EU guarantees that North Macedonia will meet certain demands on contentious issues.

North Macedonian Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani on Sunday hailed the "historic opportunity" at the signing ceremony for his country to start EU membership talks.

Read also

N.Macedonia agrees compromise for EU membership talks: PM

PAY ATTENTION: Click “See First” under the “Following” tab to see YEN.com.gh News on your News Feed!

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said on Twitter: "We will do our best to start the intergovernmental conferences on accession negotiations in Brussels with North Macedonia as well as Albania as soon as possible."

"The agreement contains ambitious measures to sort out unresolved bilateral issues," said Bulgarian Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska, who warned that ironing out those issues could take "months or years".

The strategic importance of the Western Balkans to the EU has increased since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Source: AFP

Authors:
AFP avatar

AFP AFP text, photo, graphic, audio or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. AFP news material may not be stored in whole or in part in a computer or otherwise except for personal and non-commercial use. AFP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions in any AFP news material or in transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages whatsoever. As a newswire service, AFP does not obtain releases from subjects, individuals, groups or entities contained in its photographs, videos, graphics or quoted in its texts. Further, no clearance is obtained from the owners of any trademarks or copyrighted materials whose marks and materials are included in AFP material. Therefore you will be solely responsible for obtaining any and all necessary releases from whatever individuals and/or entities necessary for any uses of AFP material.

Online view pixel