Presidents Radev and Mattarella Highlight the Potential of Bulgaria and Italy for Expanding Economic Ties and Increasing Trade and Investment

2024-04-17 20:35:00

The relations between Bulgaria and Italy are an example of partnership, cooperation and mutual trust, built on the solid foundation of traditional friendship between our peoples and active cultural and ideological exchange. This was stated by President Rumen Radev, who welcomed today the head of state of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella. 2024 marks the 145th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Rumen Radev and his wife Desislava Radeva welcomed with a ceremony at St. "Al. Nevsky" square Sergio Mattarella and his daughter Laura Mattarella. The two presidents held a one-on-one meeting and led the plenary talks between the official delegations.

Rumen Radev and Sergio Mattarella noted the fruitful cooperation between the two countries in a number of sectors. Italy is a leading foreign trade and investment partner of Bulgaria, Radev said in his statement at the presidential building and emphasised the determination of both countries to expand and deepen cooperation in the economy and investments. The President highlighted the growth of bilateral trade, which in recent years has seen a significant rise, and for the first 11 months of 2023, it reached EUR 6.038 billion.

The presidents of Bulgaria and Italy highlighted the importance of connectivity in Europe and the strategic importance of the Pan-European Transport Corridor No. 8. The infrastructure project will improve European and regional connectivity and its implementation has important added value in the context of cooperation between the EU and NATO, Radev noted, highly appreciating Italy's active role in its implementation. The head of state thanked for the decisive Italian support for Bulgaria's full membership in the Schengen area and for Bulgaria's accession to the OECD.

In their statements, both Rumen Radev and Sergio Mattarella stressed the importance of cooperation between Bulgaria and Italy in the field of education, science and culture. According to Rumen Radev, partnerships in these areas are the most effective tools for transmitting and confirming the traditions of friendship and respect between Bulgaria and Italy. The two presidents also noted the positive development in terms of university, student and research exchanges.

Rumen Radev and Sergio Mattarella discussed topics on the EU agenda and the challenges facing the union. Italy and Bulgaria, as frontline countries, share the vision of the need for a unified strategic European approach to migration and achieving an effective balance between responsibility and solidarity. The new asylum system will ensure a sustainable and structured common European response, which, according to President Radev, creates the conditions for greater support for front-line countries and for solving problems related to illegal migration.

Regardless of the complex and dynamic geopolitical situation, the principle of the countries' own merits should remain the leading factor in the EU enlargement process, Radev said in connection with the European integration of the Western Balkans, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. Only in this way can the transformational power of the expansion process be manifested and we can achieve the strengthening of democratic values, economic stability and competitiveness of the entire region, the head of state pointed out. He added that Bulgaria is ready for further close cooperation with Italy in these processes.

The two presidents pointed to the importance of cooperation in the field of security and defence, emphasising the partnership between the Bulgarian and Italian service people in the composition of the NATO Multinational Battlegroup in this country, with the Bulgarian president thanking Italy for the role of the framework nation of the formation. Rumen Radev also noted the Italian support for the strengthened mission to protect our airspace. Our joint efforts are an expression of our shared responsibility for strengthening the deterrence and defence potential of the Alliance and for strengthening security on NATO's Eastern flank and the Black Sea region, said the Bulgarian president. Fostering bilateral relations can lead to greater common security of all EU members, President Mattarella said for his part.



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