“The fact that Bulgaria will preside over the Council of the EU for six months does not mean that we can achieve all that we want. We can achieve considerable progress if the political elites of each and every country that wants to become member of the Euro-Atlantic structures outgrow their history.” This position was expressed by Prime Minister Boyko Borissov at the Summit of the heads of state and government from the South East Cooperation Process. “Our Balkan peoples – they are European peoples, but individuals need a perspective, not only talks about which tsar belongs to whom. This is important for the historians but what is more important is to achieve progress and friendship among our peoples,” said Borissov in Dubrovnik, where the forum took place.
He noted that he explained to his colleagues that the membership in NATO and the EU begins with a change in mentality. “On the Balkans the habit is to ask how much money and when will be handed out – if possible to have it immediately and turn into Switzerland. This mentality needs to change. Within the EU things function differently – people want to see the values, to see the reforms, to see the freedom of speech, the freedom of movement, the fight against crime, against corruption, and then we can pose the issue about accession and Cohesion Funds, about the Berlin Process, and all the rest,” said Borissov.
According to him, the fresh wounds from the conflicts on the Balkans impede the process of integration and development in the region. Borissov gave the example with the arguments about who is to take over the Presidency of the South East Europe Cooperation Process after Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. “This should be Kosovo. And I called on my colleague Vucic to agree with that. How are we to talk about NATO and the EU if we are unable to agree on the SEECP presidency?”, pointed out the Prime Minister.
Borissov highlighted the importance of the economic development of the countries on the Balkans, reminding of the Bulgarian proverb “Help yourself so God can help you” and the Dubrovnik Charter issued by Tsar Ivan Asen II in 1230, which created prerequisites for the development of trade between Bulgaria and Croatia as early as the Medieval period. “Let us do so that the GDP on the Balkans reaches the GDP in Benelux, then everyone will want us,” said the Bulgarian Prime Minister. He noted the importance of infrastructure projects and pointed out that while Bulgaria develops its infrastructure connections with Turkey, Serbia, and Greece, in the Western part of the peninsula this is still not a priority.
Prime Minister Borissov said in front of journalists in Dubrovnik that the bilateral meetings he held within the framework of the forum with the Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic discussed not only the bilateral economic relations but also the attainment of good neighborly relations among the countries on the Balkans.