The start of the EU negotiation process with Skopje and Tirana was among the priorities of the Portuguese presidency. Portugal has made great efforts to make a breakthrough, but today we heard that the Portuguese Secretary of State for European Affairs, Anna Paula Zakarias, emphasized that Sofia’s position should be respected.
In the BNT programme „The World and We“, the Ambassador of Portugal to Bulgaria HE Ana Maria Ribeiro da Silva noted that these are very long and sensitive processes and the different approaches of the member states should be taken into account.
„We have always worked to make as much progress as possible. We made a proposal that we had been working on for several months. We hoped that it would be acceptable to both sides, that it would be fair and that it would be the basis for the continuation and conclusion of the negotiations – or the integration of Albania and the Republic of North Macedonia into the European Union. Bulgaria is a member state and, like any other, its opinion should be respected, understood and explored. However, this does not mean that we should not listen to others. We are honest intermediaries, we did everything possible, but we are aware that this will take time,“ said HE Anna Maria Ribeiro da Silva.
On the occasion of the end of the country’s presidency of the Council of the EU, she said that it started at a very difficult time because of the COVID challenge, but solutions were found together with the EC and other Member States „to give a proper response to the pandemic“.
„One of the good achievements of this Presidency is the fact that we have managed to deal with the mechanism for the distribution of vaccines and to create an organization so that they reach everyone. The „green“ certificate, which will enter into force on 1 July, is also one of the achievements of the Portuguese Presidency. The system is already working in some countries. This is a step forward for our citizens so that they can return to normalcy as much as possible,” she said.
The diplomat expressed hope that with joint efforts the member states and the EC will successfully overcome all future challenges resulting from the new variants of the coronavirus.