MEP Andrei Kovachev: We want the countries of the Western Balkans to be part of the EU soon


The perspective of the Western Balkans for joining the EU – a comment in the studio of MEP Andrei Kovachev.

The opening of vaccination centres on the border with the Republic of North Macedonia was announced today.

More than 1,700 Macedonian citizens, some of whom have Bulgarian citizenship, have expressed interest to be vaccinated at the centres at the border crossings in the first 24 hours after the opening. I consider this an extremely good Bulgarian initiative, showing solidarity with our compatriots on the other side of the border, said Bulgarian MEP Andrei Kovachev.

European integration means that both countries should do their homework – and the EU should be prepared for a new enlargement, and member states should quickly overcome what has hindered them – the past, reforms, the introduction of common European legislation, he explained.

Why do we want the countries of the Western Balkans to be part of the EU very quickly? Because we are in competition with Russia and China and they are trying to increase their influence in the region, Kovachev added.

He called on Serbia to pursue a common European security policy and a European foreign policy. Serbia is the country in the Western Balkans that least follows the EU’s common foreign policy.

Confidence in the agreement between Bulgaria and North Macedonia must be restored, to sit at the table and draw up a roadmap that will allow both sides to determine the future of the region, said Ilhan Kyuciuk, MEP from “Renew Europe”. According to him, the policy will be taken in small steps and quick solutions cannot be expected.

I believe that every next Bulgarian government should make greater efforts to achieve real integration with the Republic of North Macedonia, because it is easy to blame our colleagues abroad, they are really to blame…. but I am sure that Bulgaria can do much more, because we have neither allocated more funds for economic cooperation, nor increased connectivity, said Petar Vitanov, an MEP from the Group of the Socialists and Democrats.

Angel Djambazki, an MEP from the Group of Conservatives and Reformists, believes that there is a third party interference in the relations between Skopje and Sofia, and that is Serbia. „You see all the operations against Bulgaria… where they are prepared…, and where they are inspired by, where they are organized.“ According to him, the elite of North Macedonia is heavily influenced by its Yugoslav and pro-Serbian past.