From: Alice Taylor
Sofia Claps Back Over Albanian Prime Minister’s Criticisms

Following harsh criticism levied against Bulgaria by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama at Thursday’s futile EU-Western Balkan Summit in Brussels, Sofia has hit back with its own statement.

As Bulgaria failed to lift its veto of North Macedonia due to claims over history, culture, and language, also halting Albania’s accession, Rama launched several tirades against them. He called it a “shame” and a “disgrace” and accused Bulgaria, a NATO country of “kidnapping” two other NATO countries while war is at the doorstep of Europe.

The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry reacted through a statement where they condemned Rama’s stance.

“Bulgaria has always been among those member states of the European Union that support the European affiliation of the Albanian people. We have defended Albania’s European perspective and the start of EU membership negotiations, even when it was much more difficult than today,” the statement reads.

It continues, “Over the years, there have not been many other voices with us in this cause. We stand for it today, in spite of everything, in the name of a common European future.”

The statement refers to Rama’s comments as “unprovoked”, “harsh”, “insulting”, and “a low level of language” and said they cannot be justified by a lack of European communication skills.

“We expect the Albanian Prime Minister to adapt his means of expression to a language that is appropriate for a politician from a candidate country for EU membership.”

The statement concludes that, “Our peoples have a common interest, which must not be undermined by a politician’s misjudgment. It is inadmissible for the relations between the states to become a hostage of the eccentricity of the current Albanian Prime Minister.”

Rama responded to the statement, in English on Twitter.

“Oh! Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry has an issue with my way of speaking! Fair enough. I have an issue too with the way Bulgaria wants to solve bilateral issues by using the enlargement process as e vehicle of kidnapping two NATO countries! Easy friends:Lift the VETO or bear with me!” he wrote.

In a second tweet, he added:

And by the way let me remind you dear Bulgarian friends that it took a short phone call with @BoykoBorissov to settle friendly & honestly the issue of the Bulgarian minority in Albania! Real friends do not harm each other, but they speak truthfully to each other and they deliver!”