National Assembly Ratifies the Protocols for Albania and Croatia Accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the Presence of Their Parliamentary Leaders
October 23. 2008
The National Assembly of Bulgaria ratified the Protocols for the accession of Albania and Croatia to the North Atlantic Treaty on October 23, 2008 in the presence of Albania and Croatia’s parliamentary speakers. The ratification bill was backed by 163 members of parliament, while 6 voted against and 6 abstained. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Defense of Bulgaria were also present at the plenary hall.
After the vote, Jozefina Topalli, Speaker of the Albanian parliament and Luka Bebic, Speaker of Croatia’ s parliament addressed the Bulgarian members of parliament.
Jozefina Topalli stated in Bulgarian language that she was honored and proud to be present at the ratification and expressed her gratitude to the Bulgarian deputies for their support for the accession of Albania and Croatia into NATO. She said that Albania was at the doorstep of the Alliance and in the entrance hall of the European Union. She noted that the joining to NATO was a historic moment not only for her country, but for the other Balkan countries as well, because their dreams and pictures for the future are linked to Europe.
The Croatian Chairman of parliament, Luka Bebic pointed to the fact that the ratification of the Bulgarian parliament confirms that Bulgaria and Croatia were having common goals and their current relations of friendship, openness and cooperation were deeply rooted in history. He pointed that being amongst the first to ratify the Protocols for the accession of Croatia and Albania, Bulgaria states explicitly its firm support for the Euro-Atlantic integration of the countries in the Region. Luka Bebic thanked the assembly for its decision. At his opinion, the act represents recognition for the exceptional efforts made by his country to reach to this point.
The Chairman of the parliamentary group Coalition for Bulgaria, Angel Naidenov, noted on behalf of the Bulgarian left wing, that the shared values and common goals of the countries in the Region diminish the potential for future conflicts. The guests were also welcomed on behalf of the National Movement Simeon II by Solomon Passy, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. On behalf of the Parliamentary Group of the Movement for Rights and Freedom, Unal Lutvi, Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly, noticed that the accession of the two countries to the Alliance was an important geopolitical decision, which would further safeguard the stability and security in the region. Mrs. Jozefina Topalli and Luka Bebic were also greeted by representatives of other parliamentary groups.
The decision to invite Albania and Croatia to join the North Atlantic Treaty was taken at the NATO summit in Bucharest on April 2008. The official signing of the Protocols on the accession of Albania and Croatia, by the permanent representatives of the Alliance member countries, took place on 9 July 2008 at the NATO headquarters in Brussels.