Dec 27 2017

Bulgaria eyeing Turkey free Balkan EU expansion

Bulgaria, which is going to take over the European Union (EU) term presidency for the first time since becoming one of the 28 members of the union in 2007, did not list any plans relating to Turkey in its six-month program, centrist newspaper Hürriyet reported.

Bulgaria’s six months program, which begins on Jan. 1, 2018,  maintains a focus on western Balkan countries. In its program, Bulgaria looks to EU expansion into the Western Balkans and plans to organise a special summit on May 17, 2018 for Western Balkan countries, the newspaper said.

It has also recently become apparent in Brussels that there were moves to separate the expansion processes of Turkey and Western Balkan countries, Hürriyet said.

“The Bulgaria Term Presidency is going to work on to continue dialogue and cooperation with Turkey,” the newspaper quoted from the program. “The future of the western Balkans lies with the aims of Europe.”

Bulgaria gives great importance to the application of the Mar. 18, 2016 agreement signed between Brussels and Ankara, focusing on the refugee crisis.

 However, Bulgaria does not want Turkey to become a full member. “Let’s leave the hypocrisy about Turkey’s EU membership, the best thing is to sit down and make a special deal between Turkey and the EU,” Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said on television last week, the newspaper said.

Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also expressed the need for a search alternative ways in Turkey – EU relations. “We can go for a new and better Customs Union with Ankara,” he told Funke media organisation. “But, this can not happen if the situation in Turkey doesn’t change.”

 

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