Monday, 18 December 2017 | News today: 14

Borisov: Before joining the EU, Balkan countries must resolve outstanding issues with one another

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said in Sarajevo on Friday that his country, during its EU presidency in the first six months of 2018, would strongly advocate the continuation of European integration processes in Western Balkan countries, but stressed that those countries must resolve outstanding issues with one another on their own and thus show that they are ready to join the bloc, Hina reports.

We have a realistic chance. We should not be too optimistic, but the important thing is that we hold the fate of the Western Balkans in our hands. On the one hand we have Brexit and on the other we have the Western Balkans with enormous resources and possibilities, Borisov told a press conference after a meeting he held with members of the Bosnian Council of Ministers.

Borisov said that Austria, also a friend of Western Balkan countries, would take over the EU presidency from Bulgaria in the second half of 2018, followed by Romania. This, according to him, is an opportunity to step up integration processes in the region that should not be missed.

Borisov underscored that the existing strategies on EU development included the Western Balkans, but that everything was in the hands of the elites of the countries of the region which had to do the homework on their own.

He called on the authorities to refrain from looking back to the past and to turn to the future and understand that without cooperation there could be no progress.

Borisov announced a meeting of the European Council and Western Balkan leaders for 17 May 2018.

Bosnian Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic said Borisov was a true friend, recalling that Bulgaria was the first country to recognise Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992 and had supported it ever since.