Rumen Radev: Ending discrimination against the Macedonian Bulgarians and providing constitutional guarantees for their rights will speed up the path of North Macedonia towards the EU

2022-05-18 20:04:00

Russia's war against Ukraine is fundamentally changing the security environment not only in the region but also in Europe. This requires rethinking and real action within the EU and NATO to change approaches to ensuring security and peace. This is what President Radev said at a meeting with visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Karen Donfried.

The meeting focused on the strategic partnership between Bulgaria and the United States, stability and security in the context of the war in Ukraine, as well as the EU enlargement policy.

The Head of State called for timely support from our allies to prevent the Bulgarian Air Force from losing its defence capabilities until the country receives the eight F-16 fighters ordered and paid for. Ensuring our air sovereignty is extremely important not only for Bulgaria but also for our partners, the Head of State said. He also highlighted the need to integrate the main modernisation projects of the Bulgarian armed forces through common control and logistics systems.

It was ascertained that making progress in the process of European integration of the Western Balkans is a strategic goal to support the security and stability of Europe. Bulgaria is most interested in an accelerated start of EU membership negotiations of the Republic of North Macedonia (RNM), but we expect clear and firm legally binding mechanisms and real steps to root out hate speech and persistent examples of discrimination against citizens with Bulgarian identity, Radev said. He added that the fulfilment of the Copenhagen criteria for EU membership, the achievement of sustainable and irreversible solutions for the development of bilateral relations, as well as the inclusion of the Macedonian Bulgarians in the country's constitution on an equal footing with other parts of peoples in order to guarantee their rights, are crucial for the acceleration of the European path of the RNM. A broad consensus has been achieved on this issue in the Bulgarian society, confirmed by parliament, and any step back threatens the stability of the EU member state itself, President Rumen Radev further stressed.



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