W. Balkans "priority for Bulgarian presidency, and for EU"

Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said on Friday that it was "high time for the Balkans to return to the agenda."

Source: Tanjug
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(Tanjug/AP)
(Tanjug/AP)

Zaharieva, whose country on Thursday officially took over EU's six-month rotating presidency, added that she expects Serbia and Montenegro to open more EU accession negotiations chapters during this period, and that there was "a realistic chance" for Albania and Macedonia to start their accession talks.

Zaharieva also said that Western Balkan countries were "important for geopolitical security" and that if the EU was not there, "somebody else will come - there is no vacuum," euractiv.com reported.

"Turkey and Russia have been interested for decades, that’s why we have to show our political support, to show them that, if and when they are ready, the doors will be open,” she said.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said today that the Bulgarian presidency's priority - the Western Balkans - is also a priority for the European Union.

"Your priority - the Western Balkans is our priority," Juncker stressed during a visit to Sofia where he spoke with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, the Bulgarian agency BTA reported.

European Council President Donald Tusk said at the ceremony marking the start of Bulgaria's presidency on Thursday that “the history of the Balkans is more dramatic and interesting than the screenplay of ‘Game of Thrones’, even if there are no dragons in it."

"We would all like it if the present and future of the Balkans were less like dramatic screenplays,” said Tusk.

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