During the common meeting of the Governments from Bucharest and Sofia, the two premiers signed a joint declaration for stepping up economic relations as well as launching regional common projects.
The Romanian and Bulgarian Executives convened in their first common meeting in Bucharest, yesterday, to discuss both common projects in the fields of energy, transport, agriculture, education, environment and culture, and European themes such as the two countries joining the Schengen Area. Both PM Emil Boc and his Bulgarian counterpart Boiko Borissov demanded concrete solutions so that Romania and Bulgaria could enter Schengen based on their merits and not in keeping with rules changed during the game, adding that the other states ought to be defending their borders as well as the authorities in Bucharest and Sofia do. The request came from PM Boc in the end of the joint cabinet meeting, Mediafax quoting official sources as saying that a common letter would be also sent by the two PMs to the heads of the EU.
‘We are asking for concrete solutions based on our own merit, on rules that are not changed during the game’, Boc said at a press conference held together with the Bulgarian prime-minister. Borissov in turn stated that Europe can ‘rest assured’ because Romania and Bulgaria are quite capable of defending the borders of the European Union. ‘I am even prepared to make an appeal to the countries in the Schengen Area to defend their borders as well as we do,’ said the Bulgarian PM.
In the opening of the meeting, Bulgarian PM Boyko Borissov in fact stated that both Romania and Bulgaria had fully met all Schengen entry criteria and also had financial stability, for which reason Europe should tolerate those states that are disciplined and fulfil commitments made towards the EU. ‘Bulgaria and Romania crate fast and set up a sound infrastructure following Maastricht criteria, they cut budget deficits, show political will for financial stability and, not last, both countries have fulfilled the Schengen criteria in full. I believe, actually I am convinced that Europe will tolerate these states that are disciplined and fulfil the commitments they have made towards the EU and I also think that will benefit the entire European Union,’ Borissov said, quoted by Mediafax. At the same time, the Bulgarian PM pointed out the fact that Romania and Bulgaria should also be allowed to have a larger budget deficit such as in Italy, Spain, Portugal or Great Britain.’
‘Mr. Boc and I joked about the poor performance of our respective national teams and said that, if we raise our budget deficits like in Italy, Spain, Portugal or England, the situation could visibly improve,’ he noted.
According to a joint declaration signed by the two PMs yesterday, the Romanian and Bulgarian Governments will convene in joint meeting on a yearly basis. ‘We have a very good bilateral relationship both at both political and sector level. With this joint declaration (…) we will set up a high level co-operation council to hold this kind of meetings every year,’ Boc said.
The joint declaration on the setting up of the Romania-Bulgaria High-Level Co-operation Council also provides for stepping up bilateral relations in the area of economy, transport, education, culture, science and co-ordination of action in support of common interest in the EU and at a regional level.
One first example of co-operation was the decision to create a ‘brand’ of the River Danube in the region. Boc said that among the common projects addressed at the meeting there were the establishment of a ‘brand’ of the Danube for the entire region, the building of a second bridge and of new hydro-power plants along the Danube, as well as the completion of the Giurgiu-Ruse gas connecting pipeline.
According to Romanian PM Emil Boc, Romania has become Bulgaria’s second biggest trade partnership in the EU, the volume of bilateral trade having grown five times in the last two years. Yesterday, the two states also signed an agreement on cross-border air police operations and documents regarding the development of natural gas connecting pipelines.
The Romanian Government has recently held common meetings with the Hungarian and Italian Executives.
Memorandum for the construction of hydropower plants
The minister of Economy, Ion Ariton and his Bulgarian counterpart Traicho Traikov signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of hydropower plants on the Danube. The ministers also talked about coupling the energy markets of the two countries – a process agreed upon on 30 November 2010, in Sofia, the Ministry of Economy informs. According to statements made in July by the Bulgarian minister of economy, two hydropower plants will be built, with a combined installed power over 3,800 GWh a year. The plants will be built between Nikopol and Turnu Magurele, and Silistra and Calarasi.