Bulgaria, Romania Agree to Back Serbia's EU Bid
The Prime Ministers of Bulgaria and Romania, Plamen Oresharski and Victor Ponta, have agreed to back Serbia's EU bid at a meeting in the Danube city of Ruse.
During Friday's trilateral meeting of the premiers of Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia, Oresharski and Ponta noted that both countries were interested in accelerating the EU accession of Western Balkan countries which would enable the deepening of cooperation through the instruments of the European Commission.
Following a meeting behind closed doors which lasted over an hour, Plamen Oresharski, Victor Ponta and Ivica Dacic gave a joint press conference.
The three Prime Ministers informed that they had discussed opportunities for joint projects under the Danube Strategy in order to fast-track the development of the region.
Oresharski, as cited by the BGNES news agency, pointed out that cooperation in border areas was an important matter for the people living on both sides of the Danube River.
Bulgaria's Prime Minister reminded of his recent meeting with Dacic in Dimitrovgrad, adding that the main topics on the agenda had been unemployment, poverty and encouraging investments in the region.
He informed that the three prime ministers had signed a declaration outlining the aspects of cooperation between the three countries.
Oresharski explained that he had discussed the crisis in Ukraine and its negative impact on the entire region with his Serbian and Romanian counterparts. He noted that the three had expressed hopes that a more comprehensive dialogue between Kiev and Moscow would result in a faster resolution of the crisis, thereby preventing long-term negative consequences.
Ponta vowed Romania's full support for Serbia's accession to the EU, adding that the country was ready to share both positive and negative experience related to its EU membership.
Romania's Prime Minister emphasized the need to implement joint projects in the spheres of economy, infrastructure, energy, and transport as soon and as satisfactorily as possible.
He commented that the resources for developing these types of cooperation could be obtained by intensifying economic relations between the three countries.
Ponta pledged to continue to support Romanian companies seeking to invest in the region.
He also mentioned EU funding under the Danube Strategy as another instrument for cooperation, as well as the joint participation in large investment projects within the China-Central and Eastern European Countries Economic and Trade Forum.
Romania's Prime Minister extended an official invitation to his Bulgarian and Serbian counterparts for a meeting in the city of Craiova to discuss the institutionalization of cooperation, citing the Visegrad Group (V4) as a positive example.
Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic emphasized that the three countries had to identify their common interests and defend them steadfastly at other international forums.
He thanked Romania and Bulgaria for backing Serbia's EU integration efforts.
"This is very important because Serbia has been through a very tough period. The start of EU accession talks was out goal for many years and we finally achieved it. We have to complete these talks as soon as possible. We want Serbia to become the next country to join the EU and we expect Bulgaria and Romania to support us," Dacic declared.
Serbia's Prime Minister suggested that Bulgaria and Romania could help the country avoid certain mistakes and achieve favorable contracts with the EU.
He underscored that Bulgaria and Romania were very important economic partners of Serbia, adding that Serbia's trade turnover with Romania amounted to over EUR 1 B and the trade turnover with Bulgaria stood at over EUR 0.5 B.
Dacic said that the countries had to seek investors for joint projects such as the South Stream gas pipeline and the Sofia-Nis gas grid interconnection.
He informed that Serbia was particularly interested in transport corridor #11, the completion of transport corridor # 10, and transport corridor #7, the Danube River, of which Serbia had to make better use.
Stressing the importance of the trilateral agreement signed between the three prime ministers on Friday, Dacic declared that history had shown that the countries had always been better off when they had stood united than when they had been opposed to one another.
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