Romania and Bulgaria sign Strategic Partnership, plan to strengthen cooperation
Romanian president Klaus Iohannis and his Bulgarian counterpart Rumen Radev signed on March 15 a declaration on upgrading the two countries' relations to a Strategic Partnership. This will "set the course for further strengthening our cooperation and coordination on bilateral and regional affairs," the Romanian leader said.
President Iohannis was in Sofia on Wednesday, March 15, where he met with the Bulgarian head of state.
"The profound geostrategic changes on our borders, with consequences on the extended Black Sea region, especially in the context of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, prompt us to realize the need for even closer cooperation. I am convinced that this new cooperation framework will lead to the materialization of new projects of bilateral and regional interest, including in files of common interest within the European Union, NATO and other international forums," Romanian president Iohannis said in a joint press conference with Rumen Radev.
The two neighbouring countries will act together to better exploit the potential of economic and sectoral cooperation, as well as to diversify cooperation in sectors such as regional development and digitization. Also, they plan to work together to advance and complete projects in transport infrastructure and navigability on the Danube, as well as energy.
"In this context, I emphasized the importance of continuing the dialogue between our authorities to speed up the implementation of the European FAST DANUBE project, considering the role that ensuring navigability on the Danube has for both countries and the multiplied positive effects it can generate, as well as infrastructure projects," Klaus Iohannis said.
The two states' accession to the border-free Schengen area was also a major topic of discussion between the two leaders, who agreed to actively continue the steps to ensure the adoption of the Accession Decision for the two countries this year.
"Romania and Bulgaria are ready for accession - we have proven it through our actions - and the two states are acting responsibly to protect the Schengen space," the Romanian president said.
"Furthermore, even if the enlargement is not related to illegal migration from the external borders, we have expressed our readiness to be part of the solutions to manage this challenge. We acknowledge the problems some of the member states face, but solving them is done constructively and through open dialogue as part of the European approach. The measures adopted at the last European Council are important steps in this direction," he added.
The two officials also talked about the ongoing war in Ukraine. President Iohannis said Romania is determined to keep supporting Ukraine "as long as it is needed."
Also, in the same context, Romania and Bulgaria agreed to intensify their bilateral cooperation in the field of security. "I agreed today with president Radev that we need to work more and better together to maintain security and stability in the Black Sea, which is of strategic interest to the entire Alliance," Klaus Iohannis said.
Earlier this month, Romania's president Iohannis and Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida also signed a joint declaration on the establishment of the Strategic Partnership between Romania and Japan.
(Photo source: Facebook/Klaus Iohannis)