Bulgaria, North Macedonia PMs hail ‘real results’Reading Time: 2 minutes
Bulgaria and North Macedonia premiers Kiril Petkov and Dimitar Kovacevski discussed establishing regular flights between their two respective capitals Skopje and Sofia, in the latter city on Tuesday.
They also signed memorandums on finishing the incomplete railtrack in “Corridor VIII” between Skopje and Sofia, mutually supporting SMEs and developing a closer agriculture collaboration. Both Kovacevski and Petkov are new to their prime ministerial roles, and the latter praised a “new energy” and “real results” from their meeting.
It was the second time they had met in a week. On 18 January they agreed to form monthly working groups in five areas: EU integration, infrastructure, the economy, culture and historical questions. The latter two working groups were formed to resolve long-standing bilateral disputes that have blocked North Macedonia from opening EU accession talks.
These disagreements mainly regard ethnicity and differing interpretations of history. Bulgaria wants North Macedonia to recognise its Bulgarian minority in the country, which some Macedonians reject as an admission that their ethnicity and language originate from Bulgaria.
Petkov and Kovacevski both described the meeting as a success, and the latter noted that there are experts in the working groups, as well as politicians. “Kiril and I are people who like Excel charts, deadlines and accomplishments. We will be here constantly and will participate in the work of the groups, asking for progress that will make the citizens of Bulgaria and Macedonia happy,” Kovacevski told members of the press.
“Issues that were sidelined in the last years will be approached: we have to catch up a lot, but I hope that this will happen fast,” Radio Free Europe reported the Bulgarian prime minister as saying. Petkov underlined that “the end goal of these partnerships is the economic growth of the whole region. A growth that both the citizens of Bulgaria and North Macedonia will feel by having a better standard of living.”