Zaharieva: Sofia, Skopje to Bear Responsibility if Talks with EU are Delayed

Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva said at a joint press conference with Macedonian FM Bujar Osmani and German FM Heiko Maas, as part of the Berlin Process, that the positions of official Sofia concerning the Macedonian identity and language are not a novelty. “We signed the Good-neighbourliness Agreement so that once we seat at the same table within the EU, there are no more open disputes between us. The Agreement contains all guarantees for resolving of open disputes, but in the past period we see no signals from Skopje that they are trying to stick to it. Bulgaria shall remain firm on its positions and we shall bear the responsibility if all these efforts fail, but official Skopje should be aware that this will be a shared responsibility,” Zaharieva said. German FM Maas said that the process for enlargement of the EU will be very difficult to conduct if Macedonia and Bulgaria do not resolve the issues between them. “EU cannot interfere in bilateral issues. EU is consisted of 27 member-states, among which is Bulgaria, and their interests must be respected,” Maas said. Macedonian FM Bujar Osmani said that he remains optimistic that the open issues between Skopje and Sofia will be resolved, but added that there are still many challenges to be faced concerning the negotiation framework of the EU.