At a Romanian-Greek intergovernmental meeting at the Romanian Government House in Bucharest on Friday, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila and her Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras agreed on an action plan reflecting the priorities of the Romanian-Greek bilateral agenda that establishes a clear long-term co-operation strategy between the two countries in all areas
“I had a consistent and extremely useful meeting today with my Greek counterpart, Alexis Tsipras, followed by a first Romanian-Greek intergovernmental meeting, an exercise that we hope will become constant and provide the guidelines needed to define pragmatic, consistent and concrete coordinates for the bilateral dialogue. We agreed to provide a new dimension to our bilateral relationships and decided to jointly develop an action plan that reflects the priorities of the Romanian-Greek bilateral agenda and establishes a clear long-term co-operation strategy between our two countries in all areas. The development and diversification of our bilateral relationships is favoured by positive premises such as traditional relations between our countries, spiritual affinities, common history and similar approaches of many regional and European themes,” Dancila told a join news conference with Tsipras at the Romanian Government House on Friday.
She added that another element of connection is provided by the two communities, of Romanians working, living and studying in Greece and of the Greeks in Romania.
“We have an opportunity to boost the bilateral dialogue, starting from the inter-human, traditional and historical relations that bind us,” Dancila said.
She congratulated her Greek counterpart, Alexis Tsipras, and the Greek Government on Greece exiting from financial assistance programmes “with a stronger economy after implementing fiscal and structural reforms.”
She also mentioned that Romania stood in solidarity with Greece during the economic crisis and during the migration crisis, same as the two countries were together in the key moments of their history, overcoming difficulties and obstacles together.
“We met today with the Greek partners to analyse developments in strategic areas such as transport and energy security and to identify new opportunities in areas with a direct impact on economic development such as trade, agriculture, tourism, culture and education (…) As far as transport is concerned, we discussed co-operation in major road and rail interconnection projects and we highlighted the importance of these projects for the integrated economic development of our countries. We welcomed the fact that Romania and Greece share a common goal as far as energy is concerned and a shared attention attached to those initiatives and projects capable of increasing energy security in our region by diversifying gas supply sources and routes,” Dancila said.
She mentioned the importance of the BRUA Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria interconnection project in this context.
“We are continuing to advance with the BRUA corridor, the first diversification project in southern Europe that has the potential to offer a new route and sources of gas natural to a number of European countries that are in a major dependence on a single external supplier,” said Dancila.
She also mentioned that a closer co-operation framework was agreed upon for the promotion of start-up companies in the field of information technology and creative industries on the regional markets, as well as the setting up and participation of Romanian innovative companies in regional clusters to facilitate the exchange of ideas and experience and to increase their competitiveness.
“We are glad that over one million Romanian tourists visit Greece every year, as the preferred holiday destination for Romanians and that the interest of Greek tourists in Romania is growing,” Dancila said.
She also mentioned the themes addressed in the cultural field.
“I talked with my friend Alexis about a very important cultural project and we decided to develop collaborative projects between Timisoara and Elefsina, both of which will be European capitals of culture in 2021. I would also like to emphasise that the dialogue on culture and education is excellent and we want to further capitalise on the important potential that exists in the area of cultural exchanges and co-operation between universities,” said Dancila.
In the same context, she briefed Tsipras on the results so far achieved by the Romanian presidency of the EU Council, showing that in the first three months of the term of office Romania managed approximately 900 events and meetings.
“Our efforts have resulted in substantial outcomes in negotiations over active legislative files, so we have succeeded in finalising negotiations over 86 legislative files, many of which have already been confirmed by the Council. I also had a very useful exchange of ideas with Prime Minister Tsipras about the future of Europe,” the Romanian PM added.
Dancila thanked Tsipras for Greece’s support to Romania’s bid for OECD membership.
Alexis Tsipras: Greece and Romania have the strongest economies in the Balkans
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Friday stated that Romania and the Hellenic Republic have the strongest economies in the Balkans.
“Greece went through an economic crisis, but it overcame the crisis and today, with more strength and more optimism, it is looking to the future, while playing the important role it has always played in the Balkan area. (…) Greece and Romania have the strongest economies in the Balkans, they are the countries with the most powerful economies in Eastern Europe, and I could say that our collaboration, always based on a very tight cultural tradition, plays a special role in the stability and development of the entire region,” said the Greek Prime Minister, after his meeting with his Romanian counterpart Viorica Dancila.
According to the Greek PM, the communities of Romanians in Greece and of Greeks in Romania strengthen the societies in which they live.
Tsipras underscored that Greece is quite present on the Romanian business market, with Greek investments in Romania amounting to approximately 4 billion euros, almost 20,000 jobs created.
“Our desire is to increase trade exchanges as much as possible, to strengthen and encourage Greek investments in Romania and Romanian investments in Greece,” underscored the Hellenic PM.
Alexis Tsipras mentioned that approximately one million Romanians visit Greece every year.
“I would like this number to grow, as Greece is an attractive tourist destination, a friendly country, especially for the Balkan countries,” said the Greek PM.
The head of the Executive in Athens also said he agreed with the Romanian PM to strengthen collaboration between the two countries in the education field and to possibly cooperate in the cybernetics field.
He went on to appreciate the multilateral meetings format, while showing that these meetings not only contribute to the safety and security of the region, but also help the countries in the Balkans with their European aspirations.
“What we need to understand in an era where everything happens very fast and the energy map modifies depending on the new challenges in front of us is that both Greece and Romania remain stability poles in the region, in terms of both economic cooperation and security. In the context of this quadrilateral collaboration we must establish a development framework to the benefit of both our countries, which development, beyond the concrete fields of activity, must also bring such advantages to our countries as the creation of jobs and an increase power and better geopolitical dynamics in the Balkans. (…) We will have to extend this collaboration in the relation between our citizens, a society of citizens,” the Greek official pointed out.
Tsipras specified Greece and Romania are both supporting North Macedonia’s EU accession efforts and that of the other Balkan countries as well.
“We can see that the future looks very well for the Balkan states. For the Balkan region is no longer seen as second-rate region of Europe. And it must no longer be a region facing divergences, opposite stands, and we must no longer accept the imposition of the will and desire of the great powers. We must be a region where, while betting on the need for collaboration in solving our divergences in peace, the Balkan countries will give a new dynamics. We must no longer be Europe’s storehouse but the engine of Europe’s development, for there are very significant development and welfare gaps in Europe. (…) The challenges ahead us are big, but we will approach them successfully,” concluded Alexis Tsipras.
A new Romania – Bulgaria – Greece – Serbia quadrilateral meeting took place later on Friday at the Snagov Palace, with Premier Viorica Dancila, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic attending.