Italy Backs Bulgaria's Schengen Membership: Presidents Discuss Enhanced Cooperation

Diplomacy | April 18, 2024, Thursday // 10:10|  views

Italy has thrown its weight behind Bulgaria's bid for full-fledged membership in the Schengen area, affirming its steadfast support during Italian President Sergio Mattarella's two-day visit to Bulgaria. The visit, at the invitation of President Rumen Radev, underscores the deepening ties between the two nations and their shared commitment to advancing mutual interests across various spheres.

Against the backdrop of the 145th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and Italy, Presidents Mattarella and Radev engaged in discussions encompassing a broad spectrum of bilateral cooperation, spanning economy, defense, culture, and education. Italy's unwavering endorsement of Bulgaria's aspirations for Schengen membership resonated prominently during the deliberations, highlighting a convergence of strategic interests between the two countries.

Expressing gratitude for Italy's consistent advocacy, President Radev hailed the enduring partnership and emphasized the pivotal role of Schengen membership in Bulgaria's integration within the European Union. Both nations, as frontline countries grappling with migration challenges, espouse similar positions on the adoption of the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum, underscoring a shared commitment to addressing common challenges through collective action.

Security and defense cooperation emerged as focal points of the presidential discussions, with a shared emphasis on enhancing bilateral collaboration in these critical areas. President Radev commended Italy's role in bolstering Bulgaria's defense capabilities, citing joint initiatives such as the multinational battle group and air policing missions aimed at fortifying NATO's Eastern flank and the Black Sea region.

President Mattarella reiterated Italy's staunch support for Bulgaria's Eurozone aspirations and expressed optimism regarding the country's imminent entry into the Schengen area by land, further amplifying the momentum behind Bulgaria's integration efforts. Affirming Italy's commitment to expediting these processes, President Mattarella pledged to leverage Italy's influence to facilitate Bulgaria's seamless integration into the Schengen area and the Eurozone.

As the two presidents deliberated on the pressing security challenges confronting Europe, including the war in Ukraine and the crisis in the Middle East, they underscored the imperative of pursuing just and sustainable solutions to foster regional peace and stability. The discussions underscored a shared commitment to fostering security and stability in Europe through enhanced cooperation and joint initiatives.

Against the backdrop of evolving geopolitical dynamics, Italy and Bulgaria reaffirmed their determination to deepen bilateral ties and collaborate on strategic projects, including the pan-European corridor number 8, which holds strategic significance for both nations.

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Tags: Italy, Bulgaria, Schengen, cooperation


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