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President: I Expect the EU to Prove that It Is a Union Based on Rules and that Bulgaria and Romania Can No Longer Be Outside Schengen

2024-02-08 20:50:00

The Head of State hosted the traditional reception for the heads of diplomatic missions accredited in Bulgaria

I expect the EU to prove that it is a union based on rules and that Bulgaria and Romania can no longer be outside the full-fledged Schengen area, given that they have met all the necessary criteria and conditions. This is what President Rumen Radev said during the traditional reception for the heads of diplomatic missions accredited in Bulgaria. The Head of State hosted the event, which was held this evening at the National Museum of History.
 
In his speech to the diplomats, the President highlighted the challenges over the past year that have made the world more unpredictable and anxious. The Head of State gave the example of Russia's war against Ukraine, which brings hundreds of casualties and destruction every day, as well as conflicts in the Middle East and in a number of other hotspots around the world, causing instability and destructiveness. The President also recalled the natural disasters that have marked the past year, recalling Bulgaria's commitment and solidarity in helping Turkiye with prepared teams and equipment in the first hours after the devastating earthquake in our southeastern neighbour.

In the Head of State's words, Bulgaria should actively participate in the process of elaborating common positions in the EU, NATO and the UN. Our contribution is particularly important in the processes of dialogue on the necessary transformation of the EU towards a more active geopolitical role and strategic autonomy, the President stressed.
 
The President also highlighted the work on the implementation of the projects in energy, transport and digital connectivity with Bulgaria's neighbouring countries Greece, Turkiye, Romania and Serbia, giving the example of the gas interconnectors with Greece and Serbia, the agreements on access to the liquefied gas terminals and gas transmission systems of Greece and Turkiye, the memoranda on the Alexandroupolis-Burgas oil pipeline, the new lines opened at the checkpoints with Turkiye. These are investments in the security, stability and prosperity of our region, Rumen Radev said and expressed his expectation that the Bulgarian government will be even more active in its work for the signing of the memoranda left by the caretaker government for a third bridge between Bulgaria and Romania over the Danube and for the joint management of northern Greek ports. The Head of State recalled the active efforts of the caretaker government also for the implementation of the Corridor No 8, which is strategically important for the region and which was included in the scope of the European transport corridor "Western Balkans - Eastern Mediterranean", expressing gratitude for Italy's support in this direction.

Bulgaria has always been and will continue to be the strongest supporter of the European integration of the Western Balkan countries, the President said and stressed that the process should be based on respect for European values and the principles of good-neighbourliness and friendship. In the Head of State's words, Bulgaria supports each country in its reform efforts - from the economy to the respect for human rights.
 
Rumen Radev also recalled our country's participation for the first time with its own pavilion at the COP28 global climate forum in Dubai. At the pavilion opened by the Bulgarian President, a number of representatives of countries from around the world had the opportunity to learn about the technological solutions and successful environmental models that Bulgaria presents, taking into account the need to ensure a just transition and a focus on people in the pursuit of climate neutrality.

Rumen Radev expressed gratitude to the diplomats for their advice and support for various useful initiatives in our country, for helping Bulgaria to have a positive image abroad, for their assistance in attracting foreign investments and increasing Bulgarian exports. The President stressed that the presidential institution remains open to constructive and fruitful dialogue and expressed his gratitude for the support to the Bulgarian communities abroad, as well as for the support to the initiatives to preserve Bulgarian culture and identity abroad.

On behalf of the diplomatic corps, Ambassador of the Republic of Lebanon to the Republic of Bulgaria, H. E. Toufic Jaber, welcomed the Ambassador and highlighted the friendly attitude of the Bulgarian people and the prospects for fruitful dialogue between Bulgaria and its partners.
 
The reception was attended by Vice President Iliana Iotova, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maria Gabriel, and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Andrey Chorbanov. President Rumen Radev was accompanied by his wife, Desislava Radeva.
 

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