12:55 GMT06 March 2021
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    BELGRADE (Sputnik) - Bulgarian Defense Minister Krasimir Karakachanov on Tuesday called on the European Union and NATO not to diminish the intensity of their expansion policy in the Balkans to prevent the region's countries falling under the "influence of Russia and Turkey."

    "Our policy is clear. We… want all countries of [the Balkan region] to join the EU and NATO. If we provide no clear perspectives [on the membership], third factors intervene, they are here for centuries. The influence of Turkey, Russia in the Balkans… Let our colleagues in Brussels think about… the fact that if they lose the Western Balkans, Euroscepticism will increase," Karakachanov said at the To Be Secure (2BS) forum, which is currently taking place in Budva, Montenegro, as quoted by the Radio and Television of Montenegro (RTCG).

    READ MORE: Never Too Late? Bulgarian President Resurrects Idea of South Stream

    According to the Bulgarian minister, Brussels policy of multi-speed Europe leaves room for an increased intervention of third parties, including the "creation of division and instability in Western Balkans."

    Albania, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro are the EU candidate countries. Bosnia and Herzegovina and the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo are potential candidates. Similarly, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia declared their aspirations to join NATO.

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    Tags:
    influence, Balkans, Turkey, Russia, Bulgaria
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