Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov, his Greek counterpart Dimitris Droutsas and Serbian counterpart Vuk Jeremic held a trilateral meeting in Sofia on December 11 2010, voicing support for the accession of the countries of the Western Balkans to the European Union.
Mladenov and Droutsas specifically underlined their respective countries’ support for Serbia’s EU accession.
As existing EU member states, Bulgaria and Greece had a historic responsibility to assist Western Balkans countries prepare for membership of the bloc, Mladenov said.
He emphasised that three conditions had to be met for European integration – harmonisation with EU legislation, regional co-operation and good neighbourly relations.
Droutsas said that his country, which would in 2014 hold the rotating presidency of the EU, intended to hold a Thessaloniki II summit, a follow-up to the 2003 event that brought together representatives of EU members and Western Balkans countries and that established crucial points about the countries’ accession path, including EU support for it.
Droutsas also reiterated his country’s backing for Serbia joining the EU, and said that he hoped that by 2014, all Western Balkans countries would be given dates for accession.
Jeremic said that his country hoped to begin membership negotiations in 2011.
On October 25 2010, EU foreign ministers agreed to forward to the European Commission Serbia’s application for EU membership.
Asked about the dispute between Athens and Skopje about the use of the name Macedonia, Mladenov said that Bulgaria regarded this as a bilateral issue between Greece and Macedonia, and hoped that a compromise would be reached as soon as possible.
Droutsas said that Greece wanted the dispute with Skopje resolved, and wanted the country to join the European family. Skopje was well aware of what needed to be done, Droutsas said.