site.btaUPDATED President Radev Confers with Italian Counterpart Mattarella

President Radev Confers with Italian Counterpart Mattarella
President Radev Confers with Italian Counterpart Mattarella
Bulgarian President Rumen Radev (right) and his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella in Sofia, April 17, 2024 (BTA Photo)

Bulgaria’s President Rumen Radev conferred with his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella here on Wednesday. Radev thanked Mattarella for the intensive cooperation in security and defence and for Italy's consistent support for Bulgaria’s full-fledged membership in the Schengen area and future accession to the euro area and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The Bulgarian head of State appreciated Mattarella accepting the invitation to visit this country in the year marking the 145th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and Italy.

"We greatly appreciate our relations with Italy, as they are a paragon of partnership, friendship, and mutual trust, built on the solid foundation of traditional friendship between our peoples and long-lasting cultural exchange," Radev said following Wednesday’s plenary talks and face-to-face meeting with Mattarella.

"We discussed a wide range of topics. This timely exchange of views is relevant in the context of growing challenges," the Bulgarian President added. "Italy is a major foreign trade and investment partner of Bulgaria," Radev further noted, adding that the sides agreed to continue working to expand economic cooperation and increase Italy's investment presence and trade, which has been growing significantly in recent years.

Radev highlighted the great importance both Presidents attach to cooperation in science, education, and culture as tools for strengthening the traditions of friendship between the two peoples.

The Bulgarian head of State recalled that Italy had accepted to be a framework nation in the formation of the multinational battle group on Bulgaria’s territory and the strengthening of the mission to protect the Bulgarian skies. "Our joint efforts are an expression of our determination and shared responsibility to strengthen the Alliance's deterrence and defence capabilities and enhance security in NATO's eastern flank and the Black Sea region," he added.

Radev also stressed the important role of Italy in the implementation of the pan-European Corridor VIII. In his words, he and Mattarella believe that this is a strategic project connecting both countries through the Western Balkans.

Radev thanked Italy for its support for Bulgaria's full membership in the Schengen area and for Bulgaria's accession to the euro area and the OECD.

Italy and Bulgaria are among the most fervent supporters of EU enlargement, both in the direction of the Western Balkans and in the direction of Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia, Radev added. He argued that the principle of own merits should remain the guiding factor because only in this way can the transformative power of the enlargement process be manifested and the economic stability and competitiveness of the whole region be achieved.

The two state leaders also discussed the war in Ukraine, the deepening crisis in the Middle East and the need to find a just and lasting solution to bring peace and guarantee security in Europe.

President Mattarella reconfirmed the deep friendship connecting the two countries and voiced hope that the Schengen land borders will be scrapped for Bulgaria soon. He said his country would do its best to step up the process leading up to that.

Mattarella pointed out that on Thursday President Radev and himself intend to visit the military base at Novo Selo. "This is a battalion made up of representatives of different countries. We intend to deliver on the commitments we have made because growing and strengthening our relations would lead to greater common security in the EU," President Mattarella added. He agreed with his host's words that the EU should take decisions that are adequate to the present day and consolidate Europe's place as a major actor on the international arena.

The guest also said that he shared with Radev views about migration and added that the two countries believe that migration needs to be monitored closely and the EU should take common decisions as it addresses the problems related to migration.

"We want to assure Ukraine of our maximum support," the Italian President said. 

Commenting the conflict between Israel and Hamas, he said that efforts need to be made and negotiations held as steps towards sustainable peace. 

/RY/

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By 17:46 on 20.05.2024 Today`s news

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