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(DF) Two-day Conference of Bulgarian Ambassadors Abroad Discusses Situation amid Pandemic

September 1 (BTA) - Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva Tuesday addressed a traditional ambassadorial conference of the heads of Bulgarian missions abroad. Calling for the adoption of uniform criteria for control of EU inner borders amid the coronavirus pandemic, she asked for the ambassadors to work on this project, the Foreign Ministry said. Bulgaria plans to initiate a debate in the EU on having EU-wide criteria for border controls, said the top diplomat. She pointed out that the drafting of such criteria is a key task adding that they should be clear for all citizens and business. The EU has managed to introduce criteria for third countries, Zaharieva said. Bulgaria will make its proposal official, with a letter, by the end of the week, she said adding that otherwise people and the economies will face unpredictability. Zaharieva expressed satisfaction that the EU is launching a debate about how Europe should increase its sovereignty and independence. She specified that what is meant is increasing strategic independence with the opportunities to resolve crises primarily in Europe. The Austrian Federal Minister for European and International Affairs, Alexander Schallenberg, joined the opening of the forum by video conference as a guest of honour. Shallenberg commended Bulgaria's role in keeping the EU focus on integration of the Western Balkans and Bulgaria's contribution to the Europpean integration of the Republic of North Macedonia and Albania. He also noted the positive role of the Goodnеighbourliness Treaty between Bulgaria and North Macedonia. The consequences of the Covid-19 crisis are in the focus of this year's ambassadorial conference. Participating in the forum are 71 Bulgarian ambassadors. This is the first time it has been organized by video conference, the Foreign Ministry said. In his remarks to the Bulgarian ambassadors, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov spoke of the importance of unity for a nation. "Those which have unity, will be the first to recover from the crisis. The others will go into deep political crises and will be unable to make fast and adequate measures." Borissov also said that Bulgaria was the first to set in place a lockdown and the first to ease it, and commented that "so far this is paying back well". He spoke of the significance of Bulgaria's entry in the euro zone waiting room. "There is huge resistence to this that we need to withstand," he added, referring to the opposition of some in Bulgaria to this country's aspiration to join the euro zone. Deputy Prime Minister Mariana Nikolova also joined the forum to discuss with the diplomats ways to advertise Bulgaria as a tourist destination. In his remarks at the forum, Economy Minister Luchezar Borissov said that the crisis is sure to affect Bulgaria's economic relations but it will also bring new opportunities for Bulgarian businesses and Bulgaria as a nearshoring destination for European businesses, which are already looking for ways to shorten the supply chains. Borissov said that admission to the OECD and participation in the Three Seas initiative are key external economic priorities for this country. BR/NV/RY/LN // 02 September 2020, 08:00

Source: BTA Free News

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