Bulgarian Ambassador: Integration of Western Balkans Our Top Priority

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Bulgarian Ambassador to Slovakia Yordanka Chobanova along with Slovak Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak (stock photo by Foreign and European Affairs Ministry)

Bratislava/Sofia, January 17 (TASR) – The integration of the Western Balkans is the key priority for Bulgaria’s Council of the EU Presidency, TASR learnt on Wednesday.

“We want its inhabitants to really feel like part of Europe, and we’ll work on bringing this region closer to the EU,” said Bulgarian Ambassador to Slovakia Yordanka Chobanova in Bratislava on the same day.

At the briefing held by the European Commission’s Representation to Slovakia to mark the start of the Bulgarian Presidency, Chobanova explained why the Western Balkan region is the focal point of the period. “We still vividly remember how difficult it was to become an EU-member country. Therefore, we hope that we can serve as a sort of bridge between the EU and the Western Balkans.”

The ambassador pointed out that one of the specific targets is the unification of telecommunications rules between the EU and the Western Balkans, plus security and stability with an emphasis on migration, a digital economy and young people.

Alexander Micovcin, general director of the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry’s European affairs section, expressed his appreciation for the priorities set by Bulgaria. He also pointed out that the country faces one other important task, as it’s receiving the torch shortly before the European Parliament and European Commission elections slated for 2019. “The Bulgarian Presidency will have to address the challenges that have been left on the table from negotiations in Brussels,” said Micovcin.

The European Commission’s Representation to Slovakia head Ladislav Miko wished Bulgaria good luck in the task and underlined the importance of the Bulgarian Presidency’s slogan ‘Unity Makes Strength’, which, according to him, clearly indicates that Bulgaria will focus first and foremost on bolstering unity.