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August 9, 2022
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The enlargement process in crisis, experts do not expect advancement of talks in Sofia

The summit of the leaders of the Western Balkans will be held in Sofia today, hosted this year by Northern Macedonia and Bulgaria.

The Macedonian delegation will be led by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Fatmir Bytyqi, Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Dimitrov and Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani.

The summit, which will be held via video conference due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will be chaired by Prime Ministers Zaev and Borissov and will be chaired by Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Angela Merkel, at whose initiative the Berlin Process was initiated and implemented.

Experts say that at the moment the Summit and the enlargement process are turning into a crisis due to the blockade of Sofia on Skopje.

Former Ambassador of Northern Macedonia to NATO, Nano Ruzhin says that the expectations from this Summit are not high because, according to him, Bulgaria’s policy is loaded with emotions and not with rationality.

“I think at the moment both the Summit and the enlargement process are going through a crisis due to the blockade recognized by Sofia and unfortunately the general ambition of the European Union to do something about the enlargement process has somehow been decided. in the background, and also covers the results of this event, which is mainly aimed at helping aspiring countries for EU membership. I mean the expectations are not great, there is still in that part which, there is still work to reach these conclusions. As we are seeing, Bulgaria’s politics at the moment is full of emotions and less of rationality. “They are being presented with a kind of nationalism that, unfortunately, is ruining relations throughout the Balkans,” Nano Ruzhi, a former ambassador to NATO, told for Zhurnal.

On the other hand, political analyst Dame Çkatroski told the Journal that an agreement must be reached now, because if no agreement is reached during this time, there will be no agreement in the coming years. According to him, a lot of work will be needed for the rapprochement of the two neighboring peoples.

“Because of both countries, there must be an agreement. Whatever the deal is, time is of the essence. If there is no agreement now, there will be no agreement in other years. This situation will take Northern Macedonia away from the EU, but I am not sure that this will not affect Bulgaria as well. Bulgaria did wrong from the position of the powerful, while we still treat relations with Bulgaria badly, especially history. If we do not have the strength to overcome hatred or it is constantly being generated. “Anyway, I think that there will be an agreement and a lot of work will be needed for the rapprochement of the two peoples”, Dame Çkatroski, analyst, stated for Zhurnal.

The plenary session of the Western Balkans Summit within the Berlin Process is expected to be attended by the leaders of the Western Balkan countries, as well as the Vice President of the European Commission Josep Borrell and the EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi.

The summit is expected to approve a four-year action plan for the common regional market, for which the Heads of State and Government will sign a statement.

As logistics of these strategic documents, the Sofia Summit will adopt a number of memoranda and protocols, such as the Memorandum of Common Regional Standards on International Investment Agreements and the Protocol on Open Access to Western Balkan Research Infrastructures.

Otherwise, Bulgaria remains adamant that it will block Northern Macedonia from starting negotiations with the EU if it does not accept that the Macedonian identity and language have Bulgarian roots. Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said yesterday at a joint conference with Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani and her German counterpart after the meeting of the Berlin Process Ministers for the Western Balkans that Bulgaria was ready to bear the burden of the stalemate, but that responsibility would fall. also on politicians in Northern Macedonia.

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