site.btaBulgarian President Radev Discusses Bulgaria's Schengen Accession, Energy Crisis with Heads of State in Prague
During his visit in Prague, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev said he held bilateral meetings with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The meetings took place within the European Political Community forum on the eve of the informal meeting of heads of state or government in Prague on October 7.
Radev had a conversation with Rutte about the prospect of Bulgaria joining the Schengen area. "You know about the Netherlands' particular position [on Bulgaria joining the Schengen area]. We will continue our very frank dialogue because no double standards can be applied for Bulgaria", the Bulgarian President stated.
Radev's meeting with Erdogan discussed energy. "Turkey is our key partner, neighbour, and ally. At a time of such a severe energy crisis, it is especially important to develop our relations in the energy sphere. For now, the only secure gas, agreed by a clear, long-term contract, is the Azeri gas, which flows through Turkey," Radev said, adding that Turkey's role in securing slots for liquified natural gas carriers is also important.
Speaking to journalists in Prague, the Bulgarian head of state said: "The multitude of challenges, overcoming the energy and economic crises, handling migration pressure, and mitigating the risk of the Russian-led war in Ukraine require joint efforts not only of the EU member states, but of all European countries," Radev stressed.
"It is extremely important that partners of EU countries, such as Norway and Azerbaijan, from where the gas for the EU is actually coming, are brought here, in this forum. It is important that Turkey is also here as a key country for us in terms of supply reliability to Southeast Europe," Radev said. He highlighted Bulgaria's "growing role' as a gas-carrying country and an initiator of innovative solutions, which, in his words, was clearly demonstrated in Sofia during the opening of the interconnector between Bulgaria and Greece a week ago.
Radev described the forum as a great basis to continue working on the energy, transport, and digital connectivity. "Bulgaria should take even better advantage of its geographical position as a country connecting Asia and Africa in Europe," he said.
Speaking to the journalists in Prague, Radev said that he also held discussions with the heads of state of Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Azerbaijan, Greece, and Turkey on the proposal of the gas transmission system operators of Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia to transport additional quantities of natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe without waiting for the construction of new pipelines.