Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis has received his Bulgarian counterpart Rosen Plevneliev at Cotroceni Palace today. This is the first official visit to Bucharest by a head of state in President Iohannis’ terms of office. The two officials have held a common press conference after the talks.
Opening statement by President Rosen Plevneliev
Dear Mr President,
I am honored to be the first head of state visiting Romania at the start of your terms of office and I would like to wish you good luck in this endeavour. We have joined forces today and we have agreed upon the importance of regional matters. We have proposed to give a new impulse to our regional co-operation, we would like to tell all Bulgarians and Romanians that we are friends, good neighbors, partners, allies and that we plan to deepen our results so far. We wish to strengthen our co-operation in all possible ways and we are now waiting for a new event – the joint Cabinet meeting (this spring – n.tr.) with ministers, with mayors. This is one clear direction for our co-operation.
We are proud of our achievements. Over the last 10 years, trade flows between Bulgaria and Romania have increased eightfold. Today, Romania is Bulgaria’s third trade partner within the EU and the forth worldwide. We have managed to achieve a lot. One million Romanians visit Bulgaria. 300,000 Bulgarians visit Romania and we wish these numbers went up. We are also talking about connections, energy connections, transport infrastructure, new bridges over the Danube and we are aiming at new energy projects. We have achieved a lot of things together but we can do more – this is the main message of today’s visit.
We have discussed the situation in Ukraine and the international agenda. We wish to strengthen our security co-operation by common military exercises in Romanian and Bulgarian bases. We are aware that we can only be successful and efficient as allies.
We are impressed with your hospitality. There is a very powerful motivation for us to unveil new ways of co-operation, to benefit from European instruments that can set us in motion as a driving force of European integration, prosperity and development.
Thank you, Mr President! I am sure that we have given this very powerful impulse today to our bilateral and regional friendship. We agreed that this region has a huge potential and we are going to discover it for the sake of our citizens.
Statement by President Klaus Iohannis
Honorable members of the audience,
I am delighted to have Bulgaria’s President Mr Rosen Plevneliev as a guest here today. Being the first head of state to be received in Bucharest in my terms of office is already an expression of Bulgaria and Romania’s excellent relations as neighboring countries, as partners and allies within NATO and the EU. This first meeting has allowed us to review our bilateral relations which are truly excellent ones on every level of co-operation. However, we have both noticed a potential that still needs to be capitalized in all domains, mostly in the economic one. We have both pleaded for its better use by promoting common interest projects, especially in the energy sector, in transport, infrastructure, transborder co-operation but also in education and culture. We are both supporting cultural and educational projects of the Bulgarian community in Romania and viceversa and I have mentioned my close attention to wishes expressed by the Romanian community in Bulgaria. I believe it is mutually beneficial that we protect and promote national identity and rights of both minorities.
As we compared notes today, we have concluded that our countries could synchronize their efforts by a better promotion of common goals, both regionally and within the European Union. We have agreed on several aspects such as ensuring energy security in the EU, promoting regional co-operation and common interests for the Danube region, for the extended Black Sea area, reaching out to Eastern partners for a closer relation with the EU, consolidating EU’s role as a powerful global actor.
We have also approached accession to the Schengen area and we have agreed on pursuing an active bilateral dialogue on this matter and a constructive one with our European partners in order to reiterate our substantiation regarding opportunity and equity of a timely decision on our accession, now that all adhesion criteria have been met.
Regarding European Commission’s latest MCV Report, we now consider it is important that each of our countries focus on implementing its recommendations.
Obviously, the security agenda has represented another important aspect of our talks. Given the security challenges in the region, consolidating collective defense within NATO is a common goal. We wish for an enhanced presence of the Alliance in its Eastern-wing member states and for a rapid response capacity. Bulgaria fully understands the need of cohesion in what foreign policy messages are concerned by maintaining the sanctions against the Russian Federation and by considering possible extension of these sanctions should the ceasefire fail to be complied with.
We are relying on a solid relationship and I can assure President Plevneliev of Romania’s willingness to strengthen our co-operation.
Bulgaria’s President has met with Prime Minister Victor Ponta as well today with whom he discussed new co-operation opportunities, including the defense sector. The chief of the Romanian Cabinet has mentioned the responsibility the two countries have in this region situated on NATO’s Eastern border. Rosen Plevneliev has talked about Romania and Bulgaria’s trade flow potential and pleaded for developing the common transport and power distribution infrastructure.
The Bulgarian President is now attending a meeting with representatives of Romania’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Romanian businessmen, Radio Romania reports.