Bulgaria's President Plevneliev Visiting Serbia ThursdayDiplomacy | March 12, 2015, Thursday // 11:03| views
Bulgaria's President Rosen Plevneliev. Photo by BGNES
Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev is due to meet Serbian counterpart Tomislav Nikolic during his trip to Belgrade on Thursday.
Plevneliev is in Serbia at the invitation of Nikolic, and the two will discuss the opportunities to deepen bilateral cooperation.
After closed-doors meeting between the two presidents, the Bulgarian head of state will be received by Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic and Parliament Speaker Maja Gojkovic.
Economics, trade, energy, education, culture and tourism have all been pointed as parts of the bilateral agenda in the Presidency's press statement. A specific subject most likely to be touched is the construction of a much-discussed gas link between the two countries, which has not begun yet despite mutual assurances.
At the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, he is to discuss with business representatives the opportunities for promoting more active contacts across the border.
Meetings with members of the Bulgarian community in Serbia are also on President Plevneliev's schedule.
Bulgaria's President now believes that, though the "standstill" once marking bilateral relations is over, Sofia and Belgrade have quite a lot to catch up.
According to a correspondent for the BGNES wire service, problems of the ethnic Bulgarian minority will not just be broached in talks with Serbian officials, but will be of key importance due to "promises" Nikolic made to Plevneliev in 2013 to improve conditions in municipalities with a vast Bulgarian population.
Reports of representatives of Bulgarian communities in the country suggest the Bulgarian minority in Serbia has been shrinking in the past few years, and regions where many Bulgarians are living have been marked by Serbia's highest unemployment rate.
A few days before Plevneliev's visit, Serbian PM Vucic confirmed a joint cabinet meeting will be held in due course between the governments of Serbia and Bulgaria. No date has yet been specified.
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