SOFIA – In a joint statement, Southeastern European countries have callef for stricter border controls at the EU’s external frontiers, Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister said on Tuesday.
Mitov’s remark came as Bulgaria hosted an informal meeting of states that are part of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP), which at the moment is rotationally chaired by Bulgaria.
Participants in the Sofia conference have also called on the EU to uphold to “commitments agreed with third countries” and to mobilize all of its efforts for dialogue with “third countries”, mostly with countries the influx is coming from.
“The EU should think of itself as a union, instead of separate member states trying to take decisions unilaterally and coping in a way deterined by a certain national interest and not by the interest of the community,” Dnevnik.bg quoted Mitov as saying.
He added the SEECP‘s statement would be sumbitted to the next meeting of EU foreign ministers in Amsterdam on Friday and Saturday.
Bulgaria’s top diplomat reiterated that the EU should distinguish between refugees and economic migrants.
In his words, connectivity of energy networks and infrastructure among the countries in the region was also discussed at the meeting.
Launched on the initiative on Bulgaria in 1996, the SEECP aims at boosting neighborly cooperation among participating states, to place more emphasis on regional decision-making, and also to help EU and NATO accession of the respective countries.
It initially involved Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Turkey. Croatia, Moldova, Montenegro, Slovenia and Kosovo followed suit, despite the latter’s strained relations with Belgrade.
Bulgaria is focusing during its chairmanship on connectivity, media freedom, and migration. It took over in May of last year.