SOFIA (Bulgaria), – EU candidate Macedonia and Bulgaria signed on Tuesday a friendship treaty that paves the way for closer cooperation in energy and transport between the two Balkan neighbours.
The treaty for good neighbourly relations was signed in Skopje, Macedonia by Macedonian prime minister Zoran Zaev and his Bulgarian counterpart, Boyko Borissov, according to a video file posted on the website of Bulgarian public TV broadcaster BNT. The ministers of transport and energy of the two countries signed memorandums of understanding for completion of the construction of a railroad link between Sofia and Skopje as well as for a pipeline connecting the gas transmission systems of EU member Bulgaria and Macedonia, BNT said.
Last week, the Bulgarian government approved the MoU with Macedonia to build a new gas link between the two countries. Under the MoU, Bulgaria and Macedonia will establish a working group that will conduct a feasibility study within 6 months after the document enters into force. Borissov said after the signing ceremony the European Commission has approved Bulgaria’s plans to build a gas distribution centre on its territory, which will allow Macedonia to buy gas directly from the future gas hub Balkan. “The two memorandums are extremely important to you [Macedonia] and to us, because Transport Corridor 8 is the link that brings together the Balkans. This transport corridor allows every Balkan country to trade and do business with the others,” Borissov noted. The railroad between Skopje and Sofia is part of pan-European Transport Corridor 8, one of 10 European transport corridors. It connects the Adriatic coast with the Black Sea coast via Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria. The treaty has to be ratified by the parliaments of Bulgaria and Macedonia to enter into force.