20 April 2012, 16:00 h, Sheraton Hotel, Sofia
On 20 April 2012, from 16:00 h, at the Sheraton Hotel, in Sofia, The Atlantic Club of Bulgaria and the European Polytechnic University, with the support of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, organized a public lecture of the Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo H.E. Bujar Bukoshi, entitled “Euro-Atlantic Orientation of Republic of Kosovo“.
The thesis that NATO’s presence in the region was of crucial importance was at the core of H.E. Bujar Bukoshi’s speech. This applied both to the historical context and the context of the future of the Western Balkans. According to Mr. Bukoshi, Kosovo realized this very well and this was why the government would do what was necessary for the country to become a member of NATO as soon as possible.
“Kosovo is not yet a member of NATO, but NATO is in Kosovo. We, in Kosovo, have to work very hard so that we can pave our road to NATO and to become part of this family”, Mr. Bukoshi said. In this regard he confessed that despite the efforts of the political class to put the country’s standards on the same footing as the ones of the other NATO member states, there was a number of problems for the creation of a stable civil society. Moreover, Mr. Bukoshi recognized that the judicial system in Kosovo was not yet developed enough to cope with the existing corruption.
Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister also stressed the strained relations between his country and Serbia and appealed to the international community, and especially to the European Union, to be more active in its response to Serbia’s actions towards Kosovo. According to him, the fact that a number of European countries did not recognize Kosovo’s independence showed the lack of unity in the EU. Mr. Bukoshi pointed at a variety of actions on Serbian side, which not only breached international law but also violated basic human rights. In addition, he explained that the economic and the socio-political stabilization of Kosovo was inseparable from the strengthening of the integrity of the administration, which in turn depended on the integration of the Serbian minority, which served as a subversive factor for the present moment. Thus, the most important task was to convince Serbia to recognize the independence of his country.
The speech of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, H.E. Musa Dzaferi, was also related to the Euro-Atlantic integration of the region. He pointed out that when Macedonia joined the EU and NATO, it would be able to solve both its economic problems and its internal political issues, which now seemed to be in a blind alley. Such issues were internal, regional and bilateral differences, which would be solved as a result of the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration.
H.E. Musa Dzaferi declared that he relied on Bulgaria’s support for solving the conflict with Greece. This dispute prevented the country from becoming a member of NATO and the EU. And this membership was important both for the EU and for Macedonia, because the Deputy Prime Minister thought that the Union would not be complete without the participation of the Western Balkans.
After the speech of the Macedonian Deputy Prime Minister, the President of The Atlantic Club and ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria reminded of the positive influence Bulgaria brought to Macedonia’s negotiations with Greece. He told the audience that our country had secured the opportunity for Macedonia’s immediate accession to NATO, once a compromise with Greece was reached, without the need to wait for a new summit to be organized.
In the end of the event, there was a question and answer session, during which the two Deputy Prime Ministers made clear to the audience some elements of their position.
The event enjoyed huge interest from foreign and Bulgarian diplomats, politicians, media and many others.