The Bulgarian Prime Minister Opens EU-Western Balkans Forum

"Dialogue with the Western Balkans - creating a region of growth, security, and connectivity on the road to Europe" is the name of the currently ongoing meeting between EU-officials and the leaders of the Balkan countries.

This event is one of the most important achievements of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU and was among the government's priorities even before Bulgaria's Presidency had started. 

Boyko Borisov, the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, opened the meeting with a speech. He reminded that Prime Ministers come and go but the countries remain and said that Bulgaria and Romania should not forget Greece's help 15 years ago.

"Today, the leaders of Europe are here - they don't want to deal with the Western Balkans right now, we do have our problems, but they seem to have taken the subject to heart," Borisov said. One of the Bulgarian Prime Minister's main goals is the creation of a road and infrastructure network in the Balkans. According to his proposal, the loan will be covered by the toll taxes on the roads. 

The Prime Minister also expressed hopes that Greece and Macedonia will be able to reach an agreement on the dispute about former Yugoslavian Republic's name. The Prime Ministers of both countries - Zoran Zaev and Alexis Tsipras are scheduled to meet tomorrow (May 17th) to personally discuss the issue.

At the same time, Borisov asked the EU what is it in the Western Balkans that concerns them so deeply. He stressed that the GDP of all six countries in the region is equal to the GDP of Slovakia - €96 billion. However, another participant of the meeting warned against deceiving rhetoric because there is a real difference between the actual progress the region has made and what people are lead to believe. 

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Vasil Manev

Vasil Manev is a student in Computer Science and an aspiring columnist, studying in Heidelberg, Germany.

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