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Friday, 29 March 2019

Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă met with the Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borissov

Signing ceremony of official bilateral documents followed by joint press statements by Prime Minister of Romania Viorica Dăncilă and Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borissov

 

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Viorica Dăncilă: I welcome the presence of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov in Bucharest. Prime Minister is accompanied by an important Ministerial delegation on the occasion of the fifth meeting of Romania –Bulgaria High –Level Council. The bilateral meeting which I had with my counterpart and the intergovernmental consultations which followed, alongside numerous contacts at political and sectoral levels over the last period reflect the close and substantial relations between our countries and the common will to further develop them. The 5th meeting of the High-Level Cooperation Council between Romania and Bulgaria takes place at an anniversary moment, when we mark 140 years since the establishment of the bilateral relations between the two countries. Bulgaria is a key-partner for Romania in the region, the bilateral commercial exchanges exceeded 4 billion euro in the previous year, confirming the upward trend of the last seven years.

At the same time, there are numerous ongoing bilateral projects in areas such as transport, energy, local public administration, cross border cooperation. On today's meeting I confirmed, together with Prime Minister Borissov, our decision to provide the necessary political impetus to a cooperation that will continue the positive trend so far and unfold at a more sustained pace, capitalising as much as possible on the existing potential. Our firm commitment in this regard is reflected in the joint statement we have adopted. The political statement details the cooperation sectors and establishes the framework for action to strengthen bilateral, regional, European and international cooperation between the two countries. On today’s meeting, a set of agreements at economic and sectorial levels were signed, in priority areas for the cooperation between the two countries. They refer to police forces cooperation for emergency situations, stimulating SMEs, improving the navigation conditions on the common Romanian-Bulgarian sector of the Danube and transport connectivity. We agreed to provide additional dynamism to joint projects and actions in priority areas of cooperation such as connectivity. We will continue to work together to ensure the the navigability on the Danube River through concrete maintenance and naval infrastructure projects, identifying the optimal location for building a new bridge over the Danube, the development of railway infrastructure linking the two states. In the energy sector, we remind the fact that Giurgiu –Ruse gas pipeline was inaugurated in November 2016. I voice my belief that it will become operational at maximum capacity by completing the works at the natural gas compressor in Podisor in the assumed deadline – 2019. At the same time, we strongly support the BRUA projects [the the National Gas Transmission System on the Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria corridor] and the Greece-Bulgaria-Romania vertical corridor, able to ensure access to a wide range of resources to our states and Central European partners. On this anniversary of the bilateral relations, it is important that we capitalize more on the contribution of the Romanian ethnics from Bulgaria and Bulgarian ethnics from Romania to the development of bilateral relations.

We discussed a series of concrete measures, related to protecting and stating the ethnic and linguistic identity of Romanians in Bulgaria and of Bulgarians in Romania.

As regards the cooperation between the two countries at EU-level, I voice satisfaction with the exemplary way in which the authorities of the two countries worked jointly in the framework of the coordination and good practice mechanism regarding Romania and Bulgaria exercising for the first time the EU Council Presidency. At the same time, the two countries cooperate at EU level to promote common objectives, including Schengen accession, for which the technical criteria have been met ever since 2011. It is an important moment for the European Union too, as ample debates are taking place on the future of Europe. Today’s meeting is an additional opportunity for Romania and Bulgaria to convey a joint message regarding their support for an united Europe, stronger and closer to citizens, characterized by increased cohesion and convergence. A priority of the Romanian presidency of the EU Council where we have the support of the Bulgarian partners, is the reflection of the cohesion principle in the EU policies, including in the negotiations on the future EU budget. One of the major priorities of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council is boosting regional cooperation at the Black Sea with EU support. I voiced hope that we can count on Bulgaria’s support for the promotion of regional cooperation at the Black Sea on the EU’s agenda. Other areas in which Romania and Bulgaria share joint objectives and in which we can bring added value to debates at European level are: strengthening the EU and Schengen area’s internal security, mobility, social Europe, promoting regional and cross-border cooperation, EU strategy on the Danube region, promoting the enlargement policy of Western Balkans, EU Eastern neighborhood partners’ getting closer to the European Union. In conclusion, allow me to thank you on my behalf and on behalf of my colleagues, for the constructive and pragmatic talks which took place on this new round of Romanian –Bulgarian intergovernmental consultations.

Boyko Borrisov: Dear colleague, dear Vice Prime Minister, Ministers, first of all, allow me to congratulate Viorica Dancila for taking over the EU Council Presidency and the efforts that Romania has made in this regard. In order to avoid repeating what my colleagues has said, I will give you more details to make even clearer the fields in which we are going to cooperate regarding firefighting, in order that the Interior Ministries of the two countries start working together.

Fostering SMEs is also very important for the development of the business sector on both sides of the Danube and beyond. As regards the transport corridors, we already have, several concrete things, regarding the setting up of joint ventures on European projects: Romania can dredge the Danube river, to make it deeper, so that large ships be able to cross it, in view of having more tourists. In the area Ruse-Giurgiu we can use [a bridge], if we start building a bridge with European money, because it is a European corridor, and in Svistov-Nicopolis on the Bulgarian side through a public-private partnership. It is also very important for the energy system, a power-plant can also be made at Nicopole-Turnu Magurele. Within a few days, the Transport Ministers will work on this topic, to do this thing through a public-private partnership. Svistov is very important,  as it can be built very rapidly. The Ruse bridge can be repaired, capital repairs should be made, and for this, both states will put in efforts in respect to the energy projects. I will detail this later alongside my Romanian and Greek counterparts.  I hope we’ll make the first dig for the Romania-Bulgaria gas interconnector in June. We are working intensely to the Balkans gas hub. We have a certain interconnection with Romania, we must have reversible compression stations. Bulgaria, Romania, Greece have to prepare with their highways to transport gas in different directions and here we agreed with Ms. Dancila.

As regards education, social services, religion, etc, the respective committees have been working and today I am more than satisfied that in the transport schemes and in relation to interconnections, we have concrete progress, and we are talking of one or two month deadlines so that things happen. I fully agree with what Viorica Dancila has said regarding the Western Balkans and it is not by chance that later, it will be a Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia Greece quadrilateral meeting and I think this is a very good signal for Balkans, in general. I hope that in the future, North Macedonia and Montenegro will also be included in our project, because these projects are not just between us, they are connecting projects and are linked to the European transport corridors. I believe that, from the two statements, we can have a joint statement. Once again, thank you for your efforts, for the opportunity to continue working together. Thank you!

 

 

***

Information on the Joint Statement adopted at the Fifth Meeting of the High-Level Cooperation Council of the Governments of Romania and Bulgaria

 

Bucharest, March 29, 2019

 

The Declaration reflects the satisfaction over the excellent bilateral relations between the two countries, based on mutual trust and respect, 140 years after the establishment of bilateral relations, and reiterates the existing partnership based on the sharing of Euro-Atlantic values and common interests.

The document marks the decision of the two Governments to strengthen comprehensive partnership by developing cooperation and promoting joint initiatives at bilateral, regional, European, Euro-Atlantic and international level, including within international fora.

Thus, the document highlights at bilateral level the strengthening of sectoral cooperation in areas of shared interest, with emphasis on transport and energy, and reiterates the importance of other areas such as regional development, tourism, culture, education, health, agriculture. The document reaffirms the importance of diversifying North-South energy resources through BRUA, an integral part of the vertical Corridor, and confirms the commitment to finalizing actions for their operation.

At regional level, the Statement reaffirms the joint commitment to creating synergies between the different forms of cooperation existing in Southeastern Europe and the Black Sea area.

The Statement reiterates the efforts designed to continue the promotion of the Enlargement Policy and the European Perspective of the Western Balkans as a priority of the current Romanian Presidency of the EU Council and the previous Bulgarian Presidency of the EU Council.

The two Governments share the importance of a modern infrastructure connecting the Western Balkan countries, highlighting the importance of developing trans-European transport networks, especially Orient - East Med and Rhine-Danube corridors.

The document also reiterates the importance of interconnecting gas and electricity networks in the region, continuing cooperation with Central and South Eastern Europe Energy Connectivity (CESEC), it highlights the importance of the southern gas corridor and finalization of the missing associated infrastructure. The Statement salutes the establishment of regional gas distribution centers in the context of the European objectives of creating an European interconnected and integrated gas market, designed to improve security and diversify natural gas sources.

The Joint Statement highlights the importance of cooperation within the Third Seas Initiative and reaffirms the commitment of the two Governments to backing pragmatic cooperation in the Black Sea region with a view to adopting a common regional maritime agenda.

The document reaffirms the intention to continue cooperation with the Eastern partners in the context of the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership Summit.

At European level, it reiterates the importance of efforts for a cohesive Europe that is capable to respond to current challenges, and meet the citizens’ expectations, highlighting the role of the Sibiu Summit in this regard.

The statement highlights the importance of debates on the future of Europe, the need for promoting cohesion in all its dimensions as a common EU value. It also reconfirms support for EU unity and solidarity, highlighting the importance of coordinating national positions.

The document reaffirms the determination to ensure the EU's internal security, including through the strengthening of the Union's external borders, and underlines that the quick accession of the two countries to the Schengen area will significantly contribute to the fulfillment of these responsibilities.

It also reiterates its commitment to guaranteeing the free movement of goods, services and citizens, according to the EU's single market. Through this statement, the two Governments express their determination to continue their excellent cooperation in the field of European affairs.

At the Euro-Atlantic level, the Statement reconfirms the firm support for the integration of the Western Balkans states in EU and NATO, based on their own merits and following the fulfillment of the accession criteria to the two fora. It salutes the ratification by the two countries’ Parliaments of the Republic of North Macedonia's NATO accession protocol.

The Statement agrees to step up cooperation and coordination in these fora, including in the field of defence, as well as the efforts to efficiently combat the new security risks, as well as violent extremism and radicalisation, terrorism, hybrid threats, illicit trafficking, and cyber threats.

The document commits to ensuring the implementation of Allied decisions on strengthening deterrence and defence posture, especially regarding NATO presence at Black Sea.

Through this statement, Prime Minister of Romania Viorica Dăncilă and Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borissov salute the signing of the following documents, within this session of the high –level Cooperation Council:

 Agreement between the two Governments on co-operation in the field of emergency situations;

Memorandum of Understanding on Small and Medium Sized Enterprises;

Memorandum of Understanding on the implementation of joint initiatives to improve navigation conditions on the joint Bulgarian-Romanian section of the Danube and transport connectivity between the two states.



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