We share the same destiny with the EU but we are not at the table yet, said Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov at the third quadrilateral ministerial meeting (Macedonia, Greece, Albania, Bulgaria), which takes place in Thessaloniki on Friday.
“We are politically part of the EU, we are there in geographic terms, we share the same economic destiny regarding trade and foreign investments. We share the same destiny with the EU but not at the table,” Dimitrov told the meeting.
He thanked Bulgarian counterpart Ekaterina Zaharieva and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov for putting the region back on the Union’s political agenda during the country’s EU Presidency, making 2018 a year of opportunities.
“There are two candidate-states and two member-states present at this meeting. I believe we cannot be a truly happy place if the region is not moving together in the same direction,” added Dimitrov.
Greek FM Kotzias said in the opening remarks that global challenges are forcing the SEE region to increase its integration.
“Developments across the globe lead to the conclusion that countries of Southeast Europe must intensify and enhance cooperation,” said Kotzias.
He added that strengthening of cooperation is required towards Macedonia and Albania’s integration in the EU and their cooperation within the Union.
Kotzias referred to the need of enhancing the cooperation in the issues of migrant management and border controls, collaboration among universities and research centers, energy and infrastructure.
The foreign ministers will be joined by the countries’ transport and home affairs ministers, discussing cross-border cooperation, the European perspectives of the Western Balkans, effects of Middle East developments on the region, opportunities for development of traffic infrastructure, cooperation among police services, fight against organized crime and migration.