Romania and Bulgaria have consolidating collective defence in NATO as joint objective

President Klaus Iohannis stated on Friday that Romania and Bulgaria have as joint objective consolidating the collective defence within NATO, given the context of the security challenges in the region, Agerpres informs.

On the occasion of the official visit of Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev to Bucharest, the Romanian head of state showed that the discussions with his Bulgarian counterpart focused also on the recent developments on the security agenda.

“Taking into consideration the security challenges in the region we have as joint objective the consolidation of the collective defence within NATO. We wish to increase the NATO presence on the territory of the member-states in the eastern flank, as well as increasing the reaction capacity of the Alliance. The need for unity in the foreign policy messages is fully understood by Bulgaria, that has maintained, in its turn the sanctions against the Russian Federation and the possibility of their extension in case the ceasefire is not respected. We are still counting on a solid relationship and I assure Mr. President Plevneliev of Romania’s wish to deepen the collaboration between our states,” said Iohannis at the Cotroceni Palace.

He emphasized that from the exchange of views emerged the fact that the two states can synchronize their efforts for a better promotion of their joint objectives both in the EU and on a regional level. The Romanian President said that ensuring the energy security of the Union, promoting regional cooperation and the common interest in the Danube region, the extended Black Sea region, the consolidation of the Union as a powerful global actor were high on the talks’ agenda during the Friday’s meeting.

“The fact that he is the first head of state that I welcome in Bucharest since taking over my mandate is the expression of the very good ties that Romania and Bulgaria have as states that are neighbors, partners and allies in the EU and NATO. This first meeting allowed us to review the bilateral relations that are at a level of excellence on all cooperation tiers”, said Iohannis.

The head of state mentioned there is growing potential in all fields of cooperation, but particularly in the economic sector.

“We have both supported the development of this potential through the promotion of relevant projects especially in the energy, transportation, infrastructure, cross-border cooperation but also education and culture. I have supported the conduct of cultural and educational projects of the Bulgarian community in Romania and the Romanian community in Bulgaria and I have mentioned the particular attention that I grant to the members of the Romanian community in Bulgaria. I believe it is in mutual benefit to protect and promote national identity and rights that both minorities should enjoy”, Iohannis showed.

Bulgarian President: Time has come for decision on Bulgaria, Romania joining Schengen Area

The President of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev declared that delaying the adhesion of his country and of Romania to the Schengen Area would not be fair, as the two countries meet the criteria for joining this free movement space.

As regards the Schengen [Area], time has come for fairness in this matter, too, just like it happened in other countries. Therefore, this year, we will join our efforts once more. We are already in a straight line and I do not expect a continued postponement for Bulgaria’s and Romania’s adhesion to Schengen; this is not fair and we do not deserve that. We are ready, and time has come for this decision,’ Plevneliev said at the Cotroceni Palace, where he met Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

The Bulgarian President stressed that Romania and Bulgaria meet the criteria for joining the Schengen Area; he mentioned that this step should not be linked to the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism reports.

‘We say we definitely meet the criteria; the European Commission says the same, and the European Parliament has confirmed it. The Bulgarian border with Turkey is nowadays one of the most challenged, and we have significantly better results as outer border of the EU than many other EU member states. Our country has modern facilities and it does its job at the frontier. We do not expect and we cannot accept a link between the evaluation mechanism and the Schengen partnership; they are distinct instruments. They have nothing in common. We regret there are some European countries that condition these things, but this is not fair and we are convinced the European Parliament has provided a clear direction — Schengen is Schengen, CVM is CVM. The European Commission is a good partner,’ Plevneliev added.

At the same time, the President of Bulgaria said he wants “to give impetus to the regional cooperation”, reminding both Romanians and Bulgarians that the two countries are friends and allies.

The Bulgarian President pointed out that in the past ten years, Romanian-Bulgarian commercial exchanges saw an eightfold increase and Romanian ranks third as Bulgaria’s partner in the EU and fourth in the world.

“One million Romanians are our guests in Bulgaria, 300,000 Bulgarians are visiting Romania and we want these figures to rise. We are talking about energy connections, links related to infrastructure, we are talking about new bridges across Danube, new energetic projects. We’ve obtained a lot together but we can do more. This is my message of today’s visit,” Plevneliev also stated.

The Bulgarian President also met Romanian PM Victor Ponta, both agreeing on the next joint session of the two governments. PM Ponta said the joint session was scheduled for April and a range of bilateral projects would be tackled, included several defence projects.

BulgariaEUklaus iohannisnatoRosen PlevnelievSchengen
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