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Bulgaria will back Montenegro joining EU as soon as necessary reforms done - foreign minister

Bulgaria will back Montenegro joining EU as soon as necessary reforms done - foreign minister
Bulgaria will spare no effort to ensure that Montenegro joins the European Union as soon as the country is ready with all the necessary reforms, Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said at a meeting with her counterpart in Podgorica.

"We firmly believe that the European project - because it is a project for peace, prosperity and stability will not be completed unless all the Western Balkan countries join the Union," Zaharieva told Montegro's foreign minister Srdjan Darmanović.

Zaharieva's two-day visit to Montenegro is part of her Balkan tour ahead of Bulgaria holding the rotating presidency of the EU in the first half of 2018. Bulgarian leaders have reiterated that the main foreign policy priority is the Western Balkans.

"I am impressed by how fast Montenegro is progressing in the EU accession process, and I would like to congratulate your government on the intentions to conclude the negotiations on all chapters by 2019 and to assure you that you can rely on any support you from us, "Zaharieva said.

She told Darmanović that Montenegro, if it wanted, could send state administration officials to study in Sofia while Bulgarian specialists could assist in the closing of the negotiating chapters on the spot.

The two ministers also agreed to deepen the relations between the two countries in the sphere of economy, tourism and defence.

"On behalf of the government and all the citizens of Montenegro, I want to thank the Republic of Bulgaria for the help it has given us in the extinguishing of the fires that covered the country in the summer," Darmanović said.

Zaharieva listed the high-level summits in connection with the Bulgarian EU Council Presidency, which will also be attended by representatives of the Balkan governments - the informal council of justice and home affairs ministers in October, the foreign ministers meeting in February and the Heads of State or Government meeting in May 2018./IBNA

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