Romanian Ambassador: Romania is Willing to Cooperate Closely with Bulgaria For a Very Successful EU Presidency
Exclusive interview of Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) with His Excellency,Mr. Ion Ion Gâlea, Ambassador of Romania to the Republic of Bulgaria.
CAREER / PROFESSIONAL ROUTE:
Born in 1978, Ion Gâlea graduated from the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Law in 2000. He also has a Master Diploma from University of Graz, Austria (in collaboration with European Academy, Bolzano, Italy and European Institute of Public Administration, Luxembourg) and a PhD in international law from the University of Bucharest.
Ion Gâlea has worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2000, assuming, since 2002, diferent management positions in the field of European Union Law and International Law.
Between 2010 and 2016 he has been Director General for Legal Affairs (senior legal advisor). Ion Gâlea also developped an academic career, since 2002, within the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Law, in the field of public international law.
Since 2016 he is the Ambassador of Romania to the Republic of Bulgaria.
1.What do you expect from the Bulgarian EU Presidency?
We are confident that Bulgaria’s presidency will be a successful one. We are convinced that our Bulgarian colleagues will do an excellent job, from the substantial and organizational point of view. We are also happy with the topics that were chosen as the Presidency’s priorities, they coincide in a substantial manner with Romania’s priorities and views
Romania is willing to cooperate closely with Bulgaria for a very successful EU Presidency, given the excellent relations between our countries and also the fact that Romania will hold the rotating EU Presidency starting with 1st of January 2019. In this sense, we have agreed on setting up a mechanism of coordination and exchange of good practices in the field of European affairs and the exercise of the EU presidency, during the Joint Government Meeting held in Varna, on 3 October 2017.
2. What do you believe should be the key areas of focus during the Presidency? Integration of Western Balkans, Cyber security? Or something else...?
Romania shares the similar views with respect to many of the topics that have been announced as key priorities for Bulgaria. Thus, Romania strongly supports the European perspective for Western Balkans. The future of Europe, the continuation of the Cohesion Policy and of the Common Agricultural Policy, the future of the Multiannual financial framework represent priorities also for my country.
Concerning the European perspective for Western Balkans for instance, at the high level quadrilateral meeting which took place last month in Bulgaria, in the margins of the Joint Government Meeting, between our countries, Greece and Serbia, Romanian Prime Minister Mihai Tudose stressed the interest of Romania, Bulgaria and Greece for the EU accession of Serbia.
As for the other key areas of focus, they are also extremely significant and it is important that our countries work together, within the EU, for maintaining a proper level of financing for the policies that have already generated EU-wide growth and convergence, like the Cohesion Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy.
3. Do you think Bulgaria is ready to join Schengen and what would be the consequences of such an action in your opinion?
It is important to mention that Romania and Bulgaria fulfilled the technical criteria for joining Schengen as of the year 2011. For Romania, this objective remains a priority and we maintain it high on the agenda, especially in relation to the “sceptical” Member States.
4. How do you find life in Bulgaria? For example do you feel safe from terrorist threats?
First of all, allow me to stress how privileged I feel to be the Ambassador of Romania in a country that is so beautiful and full of warmth.
Life in Bulgaria is an experience I particularly enjoy. I personally feel very secure here and I think this is the due to the tremendous efforts made by the Bulgarian authorities, who perform an excellent job as far as ensuring security is concerned.
5. How do you feel about the relations of your country with Bulgaria?
And is there anything specific you would like to be achieved in means of cooperation during the Bulgarian EU Presidency?
The relations between Romania and Bulgaria are excellent, based on a deepened partnership. They are developed on the basis of a frequent political-diplomatic dialogue and on a dynamic cooperation both at European and sectorial level. The economic relations are very intense, the bilateral trade has increased continuously and we hope that during the year 2017 it will overpass 4 billion Euros. As neighbours and partners in the EU and NATO, our countries enjoy a special collaboration also at regional level.
The year 2017 marked a very fruitful political dialogue between our countries: Deputy Prime-Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva visited Bucharest on 7 June, the visit of President Rumen Radev to Romania took place on 28-29 June. At the same time, on 3 October 2017, in Varna, Joint Meeting of the two Governments took place: the meeting was were very fruitful and important aspects have been discussed, including coordination in the field of exercising the Presidency of the Council of the EU and the amplification of cooperation in domains of common interest, especially transport, energy and trade.
As I mentioned before, the key areas of focus set by Bulgaria for the EU Presidency are supported by Romania and we would like to see them all carried out in the best possible way, being sure, at the same time, that our Bulgarian colleagues will spare no effort for achieving this goal. I am also confident that the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU (first half of 2019) will also represent a success and will build up on the efforts achieved during the year 2018.
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