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As EU President, Bulgaria To Push For Reduced Roaming Charges For Western Balkans

BRUSSELS -- The Bulgarian ambassador to the European Union says his country will work for reduced mobile-phone roaming charges between the EU and the countries of the Western Balkans that are not members of the bloc.

Dimitar Tzantchev, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency from January through June, was speaking on January 8 in Brussels.

Tzantchev said that "currently, speaking on your mobile phone with your EU subscription plan in the Republic of Macedonia or Serbia could cost you 2 or 3 euros per minute versus practically zero elsewhere in the European Union."

"This is excessive and we want to change it," he said. "We have the support of the [European] Commission to make this change happen."

The EU got rid of roaming charges between the 28 member states in 2017.

There will now be a push to lower the charges between EU states and Western Balkans countries such as Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Serbia in the coming months, with an eye to abolishing them completely in future.

Bulgaria has put the Western Balkans high up on the agenda of its six-month EU presidency. On May 17, it will host the first summit between EU leaders and those of the six EU hopefuls from the region in over a decade.

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