Bulgaria, Romania, North Macedonia and Montenegro Join Forces to Combat the Crisis sparked by the War in UkraineSoutheast Europe | March 28, 2022, Monday // 15:03| views
Bulgarian Council of Ministers
The provision of liquefied natural gas from Turkey and Greece, the alternative use of existing pipelines by reversing the flow of gas from the south - through Turkey, and the construction of transport corridors in the region - are important not only for connectivity but also for military mobility, discussed the prime ministers of Bulgaria, Romania, Montenegro and North Macedonia at a meeting in Sofia.
The Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov clarified that two main corridors were discussed - Corridor No. 8, which will connect Podgorica - Durres - Skopje - Sofia - Dimitrovgrad - Varna, as well as a corridor to pass through Alexandroupolis - Burgas - Varna - Constanta.
“My dream is to have a coordinated Balkans on all topics. If this continues as we started, if cross-border cooperation is activated and we have a common defense strategy and economic cooperation, we can become the fastest growing region and work together to improve the lives of our fellow citizens”, said Kiril Petkov.
The prime ministers of NATO member states in Southeast Europe have discussed the refugee crisis, grain, sunflower oil and fuel supplies and Ukraine's post-conflict reconstruction. Meetings of the line ministers on these topics are forthcoming.
“Russia has stopped exporting wheat, and Ukrainian ports are closed and unable to transport goods. We are also worried about a shortage of fertilizers - a ban on exports to both countries. This could lead to supply problems across Europe. Therefore, we discussed organizing a meeting of agriculture ministers and ensuring that food security is a matter of regional, not just national, aiming to coordinate and help each other there will be a shortage in the region.”
The focus of the meeting was on the eradication of corruption.
“Local corruption is in many cases a tool used by the Russian Federation for influence in the region. Corrupt people are often of foreign interest. These are not just topics for discussion, but tasks to continue working on. The Balkans must to become a symbol of a coordinated region where things happen,” said Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov.
“This is a new beginning for us, which will give us the opportunity to start real work on what is really important - to talk less and work more - to work together, together.” This was said by the Prime Minister of Montenegro Zdravko Krivokapic.
“We must give all refugees the opportunity to have access to everything that the citizens of Bulgaria and Romania have. I see that you are doing this and I express my admiration for you,” he said.
Krivokapic said the talks would help the Western Balkan countries to “act together in a smart way”.
“I think we in the Western Balkans are very wise and smart, and it seems that this has not been taken into account. Now is the time to work together and ensure a better quality of life for all citizens,” he said.
“We must leave the past behind, we must think about the future and the development of policies that will ensure a better standard of living for our citizens. This includes the interconnectedness between the countries.”
“Today, as NATO allies, we sent another strong message of solidarity to Ukraine, as well as future coordination and increased communication between the four countries in the region,” said RNM Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski.
“The meeting contributes to cooperation in protecting potential threats and supporting the resolution of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. This war has created a new reality in our lives, in all aspects. Above all, to coordinate efforts in food production, supply, production and energy supplies, as well as defense. Once again, we condemned Russia's military aggression and support Ukraine's territorial integrity,” he said.
“The Republic of North Macedonia coordinates its foreign policy with the EU and shares the same values as the EU and NATO countries. EU enlargement is also becoming a security policy, and halting the process is causing instability in the region because it creates the possibility of malicious influences from third countries,” Kovachevski said.
He said the RNM remains strongly committed to maintaining good neighborly relations with all countries in the region.
Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca emphasized that we are all aware of Russia's harmful influence in the region. That is why the four prime ministers have decided to respond by strengthening resilience in the region, which includes countering fake news, increasing energy independence and greater co-operation with each other.
“Joint action is key to resolving the conflict, so my colleagues and I have decided to be firm in our strategic orientation towards NATO. We discussed ways to help strengthen the eastern flank. Our countries already have experience in regional cooperation in the field of defense, and this can be useful. There is no doubt that Russia is the biggest threat to the region. We need more serious protection to prevent its future actions,” said Nicolae Ciuca, Romania's prime minister.
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