Prime Minister Viorica Dancila voiced on Wednesday in Thessaloniki, Romania’s interest in advancing energy interconnections with Serbia and in streamlining Romanian gas and electricity exports.
According to a press release of the Government, Premier Dancila participated in Thessaloniki at the invite of the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in a new quadrilateral meeting of Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia, alongside Bulgarian counterpart Boiko Borisov and Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic.
“The meeting contributed to the consolidation of the high-level dialogue format and to the identification of cooperation ways in the region,” reads the release.
Premier Dancila highlighted that given Romania’s preparations to take over the presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2019, the advancement of the interconnection projects with the South-East Europe states, progress in ensuring the region’s energy security, the intensification of regional cooperation and the enlargement pursuit with the Western Balkans states represent priority objectives for our country.
As regards inter-connectivity, the emphasis was placed on infrastructure projects in transportation and energy interconnections.
“Romania proposed the setting up of a Working Group in transportation that will identify and establish priority projects to be promoted by the parties in quadrilateral, trilateral and bilateral format and the financing sources, respectively,” the release informs.
At the same time, PM Dancila voiced her conviction that common projects will stimulate commerce, the connections between companies and tourism.
“Romania’s Prime Minister conveyed our country’s special interest in advancing energy interconnections with Serbia and in facilitating Romanian exports of gas and electricity and maintained the importance of enhancing efforts to consolidate energy security at regional and European level, especially by diversifying supply sources and accelerating interconnections,” reads the release.
As regards the European Straegy for the Danube Region, Viorica Dancila specified that our country intends to promote its added value in order to ensure economic development, social cohesion and to curb territorial development disparities at the EU level.
“In reference to the enlargement of the European Union with Western Balkans states, she specified that Romania (…) wishes to continue the strong collaboration with the states in this region. She reiterated, on this occasion also, Romania’s constant and firm support for Serbia’s negotiation process for joining the EU,” the release mentions.
At the same time, PM Dancila underscored that the Government aims to build a better integrated region to include the states in the Balkans, as a premise for a durable development in the region.
“Romania’s prime Minister upheld during the meeting in Thessaloniki the need for action in view of regional stabilisation meant to combat the factors that facilitate the phenomena of radicalisation and violent extremism, with the involvement of the civil society and of the local and central authorities. Moreover, she brought up the issue of border security, highlighting, in the context, the importance of regional and bilateral cooperation aimed at preventing and fighting illegal migration and organised criminality,” the release further informs.
The high officials reunited in Thessaloniki also pointed out that migration remains a priority on the EU agenda, specifying that efforts need to be further made in order to identify the best action ways.
According to the executive, PM Dancila said that “Romania is counting on the ongoing commitment of the states in the region, including Serbia’s, in handling challenges triggered by the migration phenomenon.”
With regard to the revision of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), Viorica Dancila appreciated the efforts made by the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council in order to achieve compromise on the Dublin proposal but also the developments registered with the other CEAS instruments.
Attending the Thessaloniki quadrilateral meeting were government officials in transportation from Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia who discussed about identifying concrete cooperation possibilities.
Dancila, after meeting Vucic, Tsipras and Borisov: Talks about common points in transport, energy
Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said late on Wednesday in Thessaloniki that she had talked with Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic and with Greek and Bulgarian Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras and Boyko Borisov on the common points on the European agenda, but also on areas of interest in the region, such as transport, energy and the Danube Strategy.
“It is a great pleasure for me to take part in the fourth meeting in this format, which has proven its usefulness in promoting our goals in the region. Our shared stake is today to offer substance to this format. Our discussions have had common ground both on the European agenda and in areas of interest in the region (…), transport, energy and the Danube Strategy. I believe that the discussions in this format are about the reality existing in the region and I think they can bring added value,” Danila said in a joint statement with her Greek and Bulgarian counterparts and the Serbian president, which was broadcast live on the Facebook page of the Romanian Government.
At the same time, Dancila said that in the context of the meeting in quadrilateral format of Romania-Bulgaria-Greece-Serbia in Thessaloniki, a meeting of transport ministers from the four countries also took place.
“Today, the meeting of the transport ministers took place so that we can identify common projects in this area. We hope that in the next period such meetings between the relevant ministers will take place in order to have as many joint projects as possible both at regional level but also at European level,” the prime minister said.
At the same time, Danica told Tsipras that Greece is “a key country” for Romania, and congratulated Borisov on Bulgaria’s mandate at the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
“I want to assure the Greek Prime Minister that Greece is a key country for Romania in the region, and we want to intensify dialogue and cooperation on a bilateral, regional and European level. At the same time, I would like to congratulate the Bulgarian Prime Minister (…) for the mandate at the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and I appreciate that the Western Balkans have occupied a central place..(…) On January 1, 2019, Romania will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and I want to assure you that the Western Balkans will constitute an important topic during our mandate,” the prime minister showed.
Moreover, Dancila assured Vucic of Romania’s commitment to support the European integration of Serbia.
“I want to assure President Vucic of Romania’s firm commitment for politically and technically supporting Serbia’s European integration,” the head of the Romanian Government said.
In turn, the Greek prime minister assured the Romanian and Bulgarian prime ministers of his support for the integration in the Schengen area.
“We will continue to support the integration path of Serbia into the European family (…) and gave assurances of our support for the integration of Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen area,” said Alexis Tsipras.
The Greek prime minister also said that the Thessaloniki meeting dwelled on “strategic” projects.
“We have referred to road transport, rail transport (…), a whole range of works, energy projects (…), the obligation we have (…) to link ports in the north of the Aegean Sea with the ports of the Black Sea … Our ministers have prepared a very courageous plan, a plan that we could say that will materialize in a transport and distribution ring of goods in the Balkan area,” said Tsipras.
The prime minister of Bulgaria stressed the need for these four countries to be connected. “What has not been done in the last decades now has to be done for the benefit of our countries (…) There must be a connection between the Aegean Sea ports and the Black Sea ones (…) We are talking to Romania about a new Danube bridge (…) to facilitate heavy-duty transport. We will also have the cooperation with Commissioner (…) Corina Cretu, who will help us access the European funds,” Borisov said.
The Serbian president said that this level of meeting is very important for his country. “We have talked about transport, rail transport, gas pipelines, multimodal transports. (…) Both the Greek and the Bulgarian side proposed that common revenues be used for joint transport, which would be beneficial for all countries,” said Vucic.
The next meetings in the quadrilateral format Romania-Bulgaria-Greece-Serbia will take place in late September, in Varna and in December, in Belgrade, according to announcements made during the Thessaloniki press statements.