Bulgarian Parliament ratifies North Macedonia’s NATO Accession Protocol

The Bulgarian Parliament with 140 unanimous votes ratified North Macedonia’s Accession Protocol to NATO at plenary session on Wednesday. North Macedonia’s Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi, who pays official visit to Bulgaria, attended the session.

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zakharieva addressed the session saying that the North Macedonia’s joining to NATO is historic moment for the Alliance.

“Bulgaria is a constant supporter of North Macedonia’s entry into NATO. Bulgaria has accepted the engagement to work to accelerate the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration process, as well as internal reforms, and stabilize the region,” Zakharieva said.

She noted that NATO enlargement policy is seen as one of the most successful instruments for prosperity.

“Guided by this belief, several Bulgarian governments made decisions on signing memoranda with the then Republic of Macedonia. The road for joining NATO was not easy for our neighbours. Joint training exercises of our armies will contribute to the development of our defense capabilities,” said FM Zaharieva.

She said that Bulgaria will continue to support the process of internal reforms in North Macedonia that are necessary for gaining membership.

“NATO membership marks a new phase in relations between the two countries. It is of utmost importance that the work on improving infrastructure for construction of roads and highways to continue. In this way, new opportunities will be opened for the future investors that will help the development of our economies,” Zakharieva said who welcomed Xhaferi’s attendance at the plenary session.

Members of the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party did not attend today’s session. They have been boycotting parliament for several days because of amendments to the country’s Electoral Code.

Prior to plenary session, Xhaferi met with his Bulgarian counterpart Tsveta Karayancheva. She said that Bulgaria will continue to support North Macedonia’s efforts for European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

“I congratulate you on the successful completion of ratification of Prespa Agreement and signing of NATO Accession Protocol,” Karayancheva said.

Talat Xhaferi thanked Bulgaria for its efforts and support for his country’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration. “Dialogue and cooperation can lead us forward,” he said.

Speaker Xhaferi is also scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zakharieva.

Greece was the first NATO member-state to ratify the accession protocol, followed by Slovenia and Albania.