Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor Melescanu stated on Monday, at the end of the meeting at foreign affairs ministers level of the Romania-Bulgaria-Greece Trilateral cooperation format, that this meeting represented an opportunity to assume the commitment regarding the strengthening of the European project.
“The discussions focused on a couple of elements relevant to us, the Western Balkans and the Eastern Neighbourhood, and we are to continue discussing at noon over the Black Sea and the Middle East. Our meeting was an opportunity to reconfirm the shared will of the three countries regarding the boosting of political dialogue in this trilateral format and assuming the commitment regarding the strengthening of the European project,” the Romanian Foreign Affairs Minister told a joint news conference with Bulgaria’s Foreign Affairs Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva and Greece’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Kotzias.
Furthermore, Melescanu stated that the three countries endorse a “solid policy” of the European Union in the Eastern Neighbourhood and grant a “wider” support for the relationships between these countries and the EU. “We refer to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Our strategic objective is maintaining the commitment towards our eastern partners, for ensuring in the Eastern Neighbourhood a stable, safe and prosperous space, attached to European principles,” Melescanu mentioned.
He added that he is to have an exchange of views with his Bulgarian and Greek counterparts about the Black Sea and the Danube.
“I want to hail the Bulgarian Presidency’s intention to promote this region at the EU level during this semester when holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU. We also aim at continuing this initiative during our presidency [of the EU Council]. We will focus also on connection issue between the Danube and the Black Sea, the fundamental idea being the endorsement of a Danube regional macro-strategy to be funded by the European Union,” Melescanu stated.
The talks will also focus on the prospects for the Middle East negotiation and peace, Melescanu underlining that they represent “a priority” on the EU agenda.
In her turn, Ekaterina Zaharieva mentioned that in respect to the Danube strategy, the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU focuses on culture and tourism, but also on the connectivity between the Danube and the Black Sea.
“Many times we have discussed on a European level if there should be a special funding for regional strategies, as the Danube strategy is, and whether or not the lack of the specially designed funding doesn’t lead to a slower development. (…) And during our Presidency, but especially during Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, taking into account the future financial framework, I believe it’s best that this issue be discussed again,” Zaharieva stated.
Furthermore, she expressed her wish for Bulgaria and Romania to enter the Schengen area. “It is time that the two countries finally become Schengen member countries. It’s important for the security, not only for Bulgaria and Romania, but also for other EU member states,” Ekaterina Zaharieva stated.
Minister Nikos Kotzias voiced his support for Romania’s and Bulgaria’s integration in Schengen.
“I want to express my support for Romania’s and Bulgaria’s integration in Schengen and we will feel much safer and better in Europe if they [Romania and Bulgaria] will join us in the Schengen area. I want to thank the Bulgarian Presidency and I want to wish much success to the future Romanian Presidency [of the EU Council]. Today, when we discuss about enlarging the EU, we should also think about how this European integration can be deepened,” Greece’s Foreign Affairs Minister added.
PM Dancila, meet Greek, Bulgarian foreign ministers to discuss bilateral, regional cooperation
Romania’s Prime Minister Viorica Dancila on Monday welcomed Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zakharieva and Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, in the presence of the head of the Romanian diplomacy Teodor Melescanu.
According to a press statement released by the Romanian Government, the meeting was held on the occasion of the tenth convention of the Romania-Bulgaria-Greece three-way cooperation organisation that took place on the same day in Bucharest. The second convention of the organisation was held on in Thessaloniki, Greece on May 7, 2014.
“The meeting of Prime Minister Viorica Dancila and the foreign ministers of Greece and Bulgaria is in line with the recent foreign policy actions, focusing on the regional dimension – a meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and a telephone conversation with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov – and occurring as the European Union is tackling its priorities for the Western Balkans. In continuation of the same regional logic, a meeting of foreign ministers in a Bucharest 9 (B9) format will take place in Romania, thus enhancing regional cooperation from both a European and a strategic perspective,” reads the statement.
According to the Government, Dancila welcomed the presence of the two ministers in Bucharest and expressed her satisfaction with the continuation of this trilateral format for more than two decades that adds value especially in the context of regional cooperation and interconnection projects.
“The officials emphasised the privileged nature of the relations among the three states, as reflected on bilateral cooperation, as well as shared interests that bring their positions closer on a regional level – with emphasis on the European integration of the states in the area – and in Europe, where they share the objective of a united and Europe that displays solidarity. In this respect, the full availability of all three countries was voiced to continue to develop bilateral and regional cooperation and to jointly promote projects of shared interest for the benefit of their citizens.”
Dancila congratulated Bulgaria on a successful start of the Bulgarian presidency of the EU Council, assuring the country of full support in fulfilling the set objectives. “Highlighted was the wide range of opportunities to Romania and Bulgaria’s benefit as neighbouring states that are EU and NATO members, which the two countries want to capitalise on.”
At the same time, Dancila underscored the role that Romanians in Bulgaria and Bulgarians in Romania play in the development of bilateral relations.
“In economic terms, the need to encourage contacts between businesspeople and to give a more pronounced dynamic to bilateral trade and mutual investment to create new jobs was revealed. The officials agreed on the importance of effective implementation of regional development programmes and cross-border cooperation between Romania and Bulgaria in order to carry out concrete projects on European funds to secure economic and social convergence in the two countries. ”
Dancila also mentioned a lasting friendship between Romania and Greece and their people, voicing a desire for the bilateral political dialogue to be boosted and high-level contacts to resume.
“The contribution of the Romanian community in Greece and the Greek community in Romania to the consolidation of the relations between the two nations and the development of cultural links was underscored. In economic terms, an increase in Romanian-Greek commercial exchanges in 2017 was hailed. At the same time, the importance of maintaining and consolidating this trend was emphasised, along with the promotion of bilateral investment, given the existence of a great potential for exploration and capitalisation,” according to the Romanian Government.