site.btaUPDATED Sofia and Bucharest Discuss Infrastructure and Energy Projects, Governments Agree to Open New Border Checkpoint
Prime Minister Kiril Petkov discussed infrastructure and energy projects with Romanian counterpart Nicolae Ciuca during a one-day working visit to Bucharest on Friday. Petkov arrived in the Romanian capital straight from Ukraine where he visited Thursday at the head of a delegation of representatives of three of the four parties in the government coalition.
On the delegation are Deputy Prime Ministers Assen Vassilev (Finance) and Borislav Sandov (Environment), Defence Minister Dragomir Zakov, Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov and Deputy Transport and Communication Minister Vladimir Varbanov.
The agenda included a one-to-one meeting of the two Prime Ministers, a plenary session of the two delegations. European Transport Commissioner Adina Valian joined the talks.
Later, the Bulgarian Prime Minister held talks with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. Security in the region in the context of the war in Ukraine was among the highlights of talks.
New border checkpoint and reopened ferry service
The two governments signed an agreement for opening a checkpoint at the Ruse-Giurgiu ferry service. The new checkpoint will provide conditions for restoring the ferry service which has been inoperable for 30 years now, and considerably ease traffic across the border.
The ferry service is expected to be restarted in June.
Regional Energy Ministerial in Sofia on May 5
Natural gas supply possibilities will be discussed at a regional meeting in Sofia on May 5 involving the energy ministers of Bulgaria and Romania and their counterparts from Azerbaijan and Turkey. This transpired at a joint news conference of Prime Ministers Kiril Petkov of Bulgaria and Nicolae Ciuca of Romania and European Transport Commissioner Adina Valean, held in Bucharest on Friday.
Petkov expressed his conviction that the building of the Greece-Bulgaria natural gas interconnector (IGB) will be completed in June.
Petkov said: "We are considering the possibility of buying liquefied natural gas together with Romania. Our partners in Azerbaijan provide one option, IGB provides another."
According to Ciuca, both Petkov and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis have reiterated the shared interest in completing IGB on time. "Mr Mitsotakis gave the assurance that, technically, it will be ready by June 30. By this autumn we will be receiving gas through the interconnector," Ciuca said.
Three More Bridges over the Danube
There will be a total of five bridges over the Danube between Bulgaria and Romania, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov told the joint news conference. To this end, by the end of next week a special task force will be set up featuring the two countries’ energy and transport ministry. It will work on the Fast Danube project.
Ciuca said that a memorandum will be signed on the construction of a second bridge between Russe and Giurgiu, which will be funded by the EU.
The two prime ministers promised to join efforts on a Danube dredging project and on their countries’ Schengen membership. In Petkov’s words, Bulgaria and Romania will move together in this direction so as to convince the Schengen countries of their readiness to join.
Support for EU Path of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia
Romania and Bulgaria will back the European path for Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, Prime Ministers Ciuca and Petkov told the joint news briefing.
“We started with security. We both visited Kyiv this week. We reaffirmed our support for Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity. Together we condemned the aggression of the Russian armed forces and mostly war crimes and violence, the attacks which caused the deaths of civilians, women and children, the destruction of hospitals and schools. Unjustified, unprovoked and totally unlawful. We’ve agreed to help identify the culprit so that they are held to account by the international courts,” said Ciuca. He said that Moldova is the most vulnerable country from the point of security within the present context.
Ciuca and Petkov were categorical that they will help Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia through their expertise through a single package.
Asked whether next week Bulgaria’s Parliament will approve sending arms to Ukraine, Petkov said that his Continue the Change party will vote in favour.