Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia Establish Craiova Group for Cooperation

Diplomacy | April 24, 2015, Friday // 16:16|  views

From left to right: Prime Ministers of Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia, Boyko Borisov, Victor Ponta and Aleksandar Vucic. Photo: BGNES

The respective Prime Ministers of Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia, Boyko Borisov, Victor Ponta and Aleksandar Vucic, established on Friday a Craiova Group for cooperation.

This emerged after the bilateral and trilateral meetings, which were held between government representatives of the three countries in the Romanian city of Craiova.

The three prime ministers identified several priorities, in which their countries will cooperate on achieving together, daily Dnevnik reports.

The idea for the Craiova Group originated from Ponta and it was welcomed by both Borisov and Vucic.

The Craiova Group will be an informal arrangement for cooperation and at present no agreement will be signed.

All three prime ministers pointed that the group is not directed towards any other states and it aims to solve common problems of the three countries, which share a population of 40 million people.

Ponta revealed that he was inspired by the Visegrad Four, which unites the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

The Romanian Prime Minister stated that the three countries will be open for cooperation with Moldova and Hungary as well as to other countries from the region.

Ponta said that both the meeting and the Craiova Group should be considered as historical moments for the three countries, which showed that the states had overcome the past animosities and were looking towards their common future.

He said that the top priority was for Bulgaria and Romania to help Serbia achieve EU membership in the fastest way possible, as this will benefit all three countries.

The policies in the energy sector will also be a common goal for the three countries and Ponta called on Bulgaria to accelerate its energy projects in order to ensure access to international and European markets and provision of secure energy supplies at affordable prices.

Borisov similarly called for letting bygones be bygones, forgetting the wars in the past and putting peace in the forefront.

The Bulgarian Prime Minister pointed that another priority of the Craiova Group will be the infrastructure and his dream was of seeing a motorway between Sofia and Belgrade.

In his words, a motorway ring Bucharest-Ruse-Sofia-Belgrade should be constructed in the next years as well as a connection between Sofia and the Romanian interior through the town of Calafat.

Borisov said that the high-speed railways were being constructed in parallel, with Turkey already having completed them to the Bosphorus strait.

Vucic announced that a motorway Nis-Pirot-Dimitrovgrad should be completed by the end of 2016 and a motorway between Belgrade and Timisoara had been negotiated with Brussels.

Asked on the cancelled South Stream project, Borisov reminded that it will be constructed in compliance with EU rules, which could be achieved only after the EU and Russia sit together at the negotiation table.

In his words, Bulgaria had nothing against Russia, but the country had to fulfill its commitments to the EU.

A joint sitting of the Bulgarian and Romanian governments began after the press conference of the three prime ministers.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Craiova Group, cooperation, Visegrad Four, Boyko Borisov, Victor Ponta, Aleksandar Vucic, EU, membership, infrastructure, motorway, energy, Russia, South stream, railway


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