Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union BG

BORISSOV IN BELGRADE: WE WANT UNITED BALKANS AND A DEVELOPING INFRASTRUCTURE

09.12.2017

Reasonable, predictable, and developing Balkans – this is what the Prime Ministers of Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania agreed on – Boyko Borissov, Alexis Tsipras, Mihai Tudose, and the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. The four leaders held a working meeting in Belgare in the framework of the High-Level Council for Cooperation among Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania.

 

The upcoming Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU was in the focus of the deliberations, whereby the countries set as a goal that the Presidency should have a key role in the development of the Balkans. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov reminded that in the past this region has generated only wars and tensions and now is the moment for all Balkan countries to show their colleagues from Western Europe that these problems are behind them. "We want united Balkans with a modern infrastructure," Borissov said. He also presented another opportunity for the region - the summit within the “16 + 1” Initiative, which will take place next year in Bulgaria, and called on his colleagues to be prepared with projects.  "All that there is in the West, we want to have it here. Countries to invest in our region. This will happen only when there is political stability and the region is peaceful,” said the Prime Minister.

 

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras congratulated Borissov on the upcoming informal meeting of EU leaders in Sofia on the topic "Western Balkans" and said that the four countries could play a very important role in the development of the region. "2018 should be the year of the Balkans," added the Greek Prime Minister.

 

The Serbian President Alexander Vucic also spoke on the importance of the cooperation among the four countries. He quoted an archive document from William Gladstone, in which the former UK Prime Minister says the countries in the region should have very close cooperation with each other and only thus they can reduce external threats. Vucic thanked the other leaders for the format for the strong European spirit created in Serbia by the meeting and announced that the integration of the country on its way to EU accession was among the topics discussed. He has received the strong support of his colleagues in this respect, whereby it was unanimously noted that Serbia's accession to the Union will contribute to the entire Balkan region.

 

Romanian Prime Minister Mihai Tudose added that the other three countries could help on this issue. “Our four countries have their challenges, but there is no problem that cannot be solved,” Tudose explained. He also added that the four leaders are discussing possibilities for more regular meetings among them that would lead to important and positive decisions for the region's future.

 

During the visit a Memorandum of Understanding on the reduction of international roaming tariffs for telecommunication services was signed between the Bulgarian Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications and the Serbian Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and Telecommunications. The purpose of the document is for governments to encourage mobile operators to reach specific agreements among themselves that would result in a steady reduction in international roaming tariffs to the benefit of the nearly 14 million citizens of the two countries. Serbia is the second country in the Western Balkans with which our country has signed an agreement of this kind after the Republic of Macedonia.