Bulgaria’s President: The Sooner we Join Schengen, the Sooner we will Strengthen our Border Security with Turkey
President Rumen Radev called on the countries that have not yet agreed to Bulgaria's accession to Schengen to consider very carefully that the faster Bulgaria joins the Schengen area, the faster our country will be able to mobilize forces and funds from the borders with Greece and Romania and to redirect them to the external border of the EU, that with Turkey.
"This means that these countries will be more relaxed, that Bulgaria will even more solidly guard this external border for the EU. Bulgaria has fulfilled all the technical criteria for Schengen membership since 2011. Bulgaria, in good faith, caused two new inspections last months. The results are excellent. We do not accept the continuous imposition of additional conditions that are completely outside the criteria for membership in the Schengen area," Radev pointed out.
The head of state said that he expects work at all levels of diplomacy and expressed hope that reason will be shown.
"It is extremely illogical in conditions of crisis - security, economic, social, for us to keep Bulgaria and Romania outside the Schengen area. This leads to a loss of economic opportunities, it leads to a strong obstacle not only to our economies. Let's not forget who is the biggest investor in Bulgaria - the Netherlands, who is the second biggest investor in Bulgaria - Austria. And I appeal to the state leaders of these countries not to go against their own business, which benefits from the good conditions that Bulgaria provides. I am convinced that next year, working hard, both Romania and Bulgaria will join the Schengen area," he added.
Rumen Radev welcomed in Sofia the President of Greece, Katerina Sakellaropoulou.
"Greece consistently supports Bulgaria's accession to the Schengen area. We believe that Bulgaria has long since fulfilled the necessary pre-set criteria. Its accession should not be delayed any longer. This is also confirmed by the EC's repeated assessments. The completion of the process for the accession of Bulgaria and Romania is also dictated by the geopolitical conjuncture in our region. The numerous challenges call for strengthening the European family and demonstrating solidarity between the EU member states. And like all issues and disagreements within a family, and within the European family, it is best through dialogue to solve the problems. And it is very important that the efforts made by both sides are not fair to remain alone. There must be solidarity on the part of all member states", said the head of Katerina Sakellaropoulou - President of Greece.
Rumen Radev thanked for the systematic support provided by our southern neighbor - for the membership in Schengen, in the Eurozone, in the OECD and emphasized the good prospects for cooperation in the field of energy.
"The prospects for the development of cooperation between Greece and Bulgaria in the field of energy are brilliant. And this is due to several factors. Not only the geographical position of our two countries, not only the experience and nature of our energy systems, but also the strong political will of the state leaderships of the two countries to continue and deepen this cooperation," he emphasized.
The construction of the liquefied gas terminal in Alexandroupolis is expected to be completed within a year, where Bulgaria participates with 20% and has doubled the reserved capacity of our country. Our country is also interested in the construction of the second terminal "Trakia" at the same location, Radev pointed out. In addition, the transmission line between Nea Santia and Maritsa Iztok is currently being built, which should contribute to even greater connectivity of our energy systems.
"Currently, the procedure for doubling the capacity of the underground gas storage in Chiren is underway, which enables not only Bulgaria, but also Greece to balance its gas transmission system, since without a large-capacity underground gas storage, the very import of liquefied gas cannot be balanced. Here, Bulgaria and Greece are interconnected," Radev also said.
He also pointed out that Bulgaria is considering resuming the projects for future nuclear power, because it has the most important resource - people with capacity, with qualifications, with many years of experience in the safe operation of our nuclear power plant, and this is a project that "together we can develop in future".
"We are interconnected both in gas and in the production of electric energy and in the future in the systems for storing this energy. In this way, Bulgaria and Greece are becoming a hub for production, for transmission, for storing energy, which will can balance the energy systems of our neighbors and partners," Radev also said.
The Bulgarian head of state awarded Katerina Sakellaropoulou with the "Stara Planina" order with a ribbon for her merits for the development of bilateral relations between Bulgaria and Greece.
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