“Europe needs peace and prosperity, as well as normalization of relations with its big neighbors. Together with Chancellor Angela Merkel we discussed all the policies we will pursue during the Presidency of the EU Council.” Thus, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov summarized the talks with the German Chancellor.
Merkel was in Sofia to discuss with Borissov the priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency, as well as current political topics.
The expectations from the Bulgarian Presidency are big, it is well prepared by the government and the motto – “United we stand strong” is exactly what we need in the EU, said Angela Merkel. She highlighted Bulgaria's expertise in respect to the region and pointed out that our country can do a lot about the good neighborly relations and the European perspective of the Western Balkans. “We fully share the Presidency’s objectives. The peaceful life in Europe requires also the Western Balkans,” the German Chancellor said, adding that the UK would also be invited to the so-called Berlin Process.
According to Prime Minister Borissov, “nothing suits the Western Balkans more than the Berlin Process.” He drew attention to the desire expressed by international financial organizations to finance projects on connectivity. According to him, while the countries of the region are preparing for EU membership, much needed infrastructure will be built. “I am happy that the EU is conducting a peaceful policy and we will undertake everything possible to stabilize the relations with the neighboring countries,” said the Prime Minister. Borissov received Merkel's support for his initiative to bring together EU leaders and the Turkish President Recep Erdogan at a meeting to discuss issues of tension within the relations. “Such a buffer meeting would only do good for all of us,” the Bulgarian Prime Minister commented.
At the meeting at the “Boyana” Residence the process of changes in the European Union was also discussed. “We want measurable success,” said Angela Merkel, and mentioned as an example the visible development over the last year of the common defense policy.
She expressed her expectations that the question of Bulgarian and Romanian membership in the Schengen area will soon be reinstated on the European Union agenda, the rules of the Schengen Area being introduce gradually in a phased approach, with the initial introduction in respect to airports. At a press conference after her meeting with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Chancellor Merkel thanked Bulgaria for protecting the Union's external border. “This task is extremely difficult ...’Frontex’ supports Bulgaria, Germany supports Bulgaria, but the main work has been done here,” she said.
Angela Merkel welcomed the idea of building a gas hub near Varna to diversify natural gas supplies and announced that Germany is supporting the project.
In response to a question, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov emphasized the financial discipline of Bulgaria and pointed out that our country does not constitute a risk for the Euro area. “We have done our homework. Of course, much more work and faster growth is needed. I am convinced that this is going to be attained,” the Prime Minister stated. He also said he received the Chancellor's support for the initiative that foresees German experts in the justice system to assist the implementation of the anti-corruption legislation.