Italian Foreign Minister Alfano: "Priorities of Bulgarian EU Presidency Are Our Priorities Too"

Rome/Sofia, November 10 (BTA)- On the second day of her two-day working visit to Italy, Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister for judicial reform and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva conferred with Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, Zaharieva's Ministry said in a press release. At the meeting Alfano said that the priorities of the Bulgarian EU Council Presidency are Italy's priorities too. He also said that he highly valued the political views of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov whom he described as one of the strong leaders of Europe. The Italian Foreign Minister said that his country's government is looking forward to Borissov's visit there next week.

Zaharieva said that Bulgaria will rely on Italy's support for "the sensitive topics". She said that the two countries have a common position in respect of the European asylum policy and stressed that Bulgaria supports the opening of reception centres for migrants outside the EU.

Taking a question Alfano said that he supported Bulgaria's position about a need for a global approach to the migrant crisis in line with the EU principles of solidarity and shared responsibility.

The Italian Foreign Minister said that as chair of the Berlin Process Italy will support Bulgaria with the integration of the Western Balkans, which will top the agenda of the Bulgarian EU Presidency. Alfano said that the common defence policy and the social dimension in Europe should be strengthened which will be the most important response to populism.

For her part, Zaharieva said that for a strong social dimension the EU should continue to prioritize the Cohesion Policy and the financing of new tools of cooperation in the field of security and defence should not be at the expense of the cohesion policy.

Within the framework of her visit Zaharieva met with Sandro Gozi, Undersecretary of State for EU Affairs. He will represent Italy on the General Affairs Council which the Bulgaria Deputy Prime Minister will chair in the first half of 2018. The two discussed their joint work on the European perspective for the Western Balkans, the plans for reforms of election rules to the European Parliament after Brexit when 73 seats will be vacated and the multiannual financial framework.

Source: Rome