The prime ministers of Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania signed a joint declaration on boosting trilateral transport and digital connectivity on Monday in Varna, Bulgaria.
The document, signed by Prime Ministers Nikolai Denkov of Bulgaria, Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece, and Marcel Ciolacu of Romania, highlighted the excellent relations between their countries and acknowledged the key importance of good-neighborly relations in Southeastern Europe.
“We reaffirmed the excellent relations between our countries,” Mitsotakis said. “We agreed to deepen our cooperation at bilateral and multilateral level and in the wider region.”
Greece, Bulgaria, Romania boost cooperation in transport and energy
Speaking of energy collaboration between Greece, Bulgaria, and Romania, Mitsotakis said that “Greece plays and hopes to play a central role in the energy interconnectivity between our countries. As of 2022, we have quadrupled the exports of natural gas to our neighbors in the north and we transfer fuel up to Moldova, shielding the energy security of all southeastern Europe.”
He stressed that he wants to turn Greece into a hub for green energy.
“The floating unit for storage and regasification will be inaugurated soon in Alexandroupolis,” Mitsotakis said. “We will continue to invest in Renewable Energy Sources. We want to turn Greece into a hub of international interconnection and distribution of green energy, starting with Bulgaria and Romania, something that demands the strengthening of the electricity interconnections.”
The three leaders recognized the urgent need to further increase and expand cooperation in developing connectivity by building strategic transport and energy interconnections and digital networks along the North-South axis to strengthen cohesion and economic growth in the region and in Europe as a whole.
“The ever-growing importance of multidimensional connectivity between our three countries, the EU (European Union) interregional connectivity as well as connectivity in the wider neighborhood demand further advancement of projects of common interest in order to radically improve the cross-border infrastructure,” the joint declaration said.
“We have agreed to identify and develop new routes/corridors on the North-South axis connecting the three countries through new rail and motorway infrastructure,” it was said.
The three leaders agreed to establish a Trilateral Working Group led by relevant ministers to prepare and sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the financing, development, construction, and management of a multimodal transport corridor linking the three countries.
The three leaders renewed their call for a positive decision on the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU’s border-free Schengen area in 2023.
The three leaders also agreed to work towards managing illegal migration at an EU level. Leaders promised to strengthen cooperation in combatting illegal migration, breaking human smugglers’ networks, and disrupting funding and supply chains.