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June 17, 2021

Craiova Group Prime Ministers’ meeting in Sofia: Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia voice determination to act perfectly coordinated and in solidarity in all actions and policies regarding refugees

Romania’s Prime Minister Victor Ponta said Saturday at the end of a trilateral meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria, of the prime ministers of Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia in the Craiova Group format that the common action of the entire Europe will be the best solution to manage the current migration crisis.

Ponta on Saturday attended the 3rd trilateral meeting of the heads of the national governments of Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia hosted by Sofia.

He mentioned that the meeting also analysed the state of infrastructure interconnection among the three countries (road, railway and electricity and gas grid connection), along with ways of raising money to fund.

The first formal meeting of the group occurred in Craiova on April 24, on the side-lines of a jointed session of the Romanian and the Bulgarian governments.

PM Ponta speaks in favour of Europe’s common action on migration

Bulgaria’s National News Agency BTA quotes Prime Minister Ponta as saying that the three countries fulfil their obligations and show solidarity with the entire Europe; however, the responsibility cannot rest with certain countries only.

According to Ponta, if there are countries that close their borders and build fences, Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia too have the right to promptly protect themselves, “but this is not a good solution”. The good solution is the common action of whole Europe, he said.

Ponta also raised a question at the meeting about what will happen to the people who do not want to stay in Romania, Bulgaria or Serbia, given that the refugee quota principle will be followed.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said in his turn that Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania are ready to close their borders if Germany and Austria close theirs to stop refugees coming in.

He added that the three countries pledge their full European solidarity and carry out their obligations. “We fulfil all conditions, we protect the Schengen Area borders as required,” he said, according to Agerpres.

According to Borissov, the problem – and also the fear – is the absence of an ultimate strategic goal: how long will the process continue, where to accommodate these refugees, how jobs will be found for them in the years to come, how they will be integrated in the social systems.

“A war is raging in Syria, we understand this, but we are also worried with the huge numbers of Afghani refugees, as well as people from Iraq and Iran, who are difficult to integrate,” Borissov said. “We have no right to expose our peoples to this pressure and to let whole systems crash down,” he said.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said his country will always accept refugees but noted that it is not realistic to believe that the three countries are the place where two or three million refugees could stay.”This is why the three agreed that they cannot accept such a scenario, ” said Vucic.

Serbian news Agency Tanjug quotes Vucic as saying Serbia accepted the technical assistance and expertise extended by Ponta to protect the Serbian borders.

Also featuring on the agenda of the trilateral prime-ministerial meeting in Sofia, besides the migration crisis and its impact on the Balkans, was cooperation in the areas of infrastructure and energy.

Ponta: Craiova Group united in all actions regarding refugees

The national governments of Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia will act “perfectly coordinated and in solidarity” in all their actions and policies that regard refugees, Romanian Prime Minister victor Ponta said Saturday in a Facebook post.

“The three governments of the Craiova Group will act perfectly coordinated and in solidarity in all their actions and policies regarding refugee,” reads Ponta’s message.

“Talks will resume on the latest developments in and prospects for cooperation in the areas of energy, transport, home affairs, digital agenda/telecommunications, as well as projects to be promoted under the EU Strategy for the Danube Region. Also analysed will be the state of infrastructure interconnection among the three countries (road, railway and electricity and gas grid connection), along with ways of raising money to fund them,” the Romanian Government reported in a press statement prior to the trilateral meeting..

The latest developments of interest, migration, the Western Balkans and the EU’s Eastern Partnership also featured on the agenda of the meeting, according to the Government.

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