Bulgarian, Austrian FMs Discuss Energy Cooperation, Migration Crisis

Diplomacy | June 11, 2016, Saturday // 17:12|  views

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov (L) and his Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz. Photo: mfa.bg

Energy cooperation and the migration crisis were in the focus of a meeting between Bulgarian Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov and his Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz.

Mitov, who is a two-day working visit to Austria on Friday and Saturday, noted that one of the main priorities of the Bulgarian government is to ensure the energy security and diversification of sources and suppliers.

According to him, the construction of the missing interconnectors and infrastructure in Central and Southeastern Europe as well as the opportunities for access to liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals are vital for overcoming the dependence of Bulgaria and the region.

During their meeting, the two foreign ministers discussed bilateral relations, the common vision and interests of the two countries for cooperation within the EU’s Strategy for the Danube region as well as the migrant flows in Europe.

In Mitov’s words, the excellent bilateral relations and the good level of communication between Bulgaria and Austria in international organization are symbols of their common stance on issues of importance to Europe.

Kurz added that Austria is among the largest investors in Bulgaria and expressed hope that the political and economic relations will be further strengthened and developed.

In the context of the migrant crisis, Mitov highlighted that Bulgaria is doing everything possible to guard effectively the external border of the EU.

In his opinion, the EU has to take three important steps. Firstly, all 28 member states have to think as one when protecting their borders.

Secondly, there should be no compromises when fighting human traffickers and disrupting their networks in both countries of origin and within the EU.

Thirdly, the member states should unify their migration and asylum policies at European level and to devise united policy on repatriation and return to the countries of origin.

Kurz noted that as an external border of the EU, Bulgaria is doing its best to deal with the flows of migrants.

The Austrian foreign minister noted that the EU has to shut the illegal smuggling routes and return to the established model of clear and legal border crossing.

Among the other topics of discussion were the situation in Ukraine, the sanctions imposed against Russia, the agreement on return of migrants between the EU and Turkey, the forthcoming referendum on UK’s membership to the EU as well as the European integration of the Western Balkans.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Austria, EU, Daniel Mitov, Sebastian Kurz, energy, diversification, LNG, infrastructure, migration crisis, border, Ukraine, sanctions, Russia, migrants, turkey, smuggling, traffickers


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