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Radev and Zeman: The war in Ukraine requires common European solutions to enhance the security of energy supplies and expand connectivity

2022-05-10 17:22:00

The Bulgarian President is on a formal visit to Prague a month before Czech EU Council Presidency

The war in Ukraine requires common European solutions to enhance security in the supply of energy resources and expand connectivity.  The steep hike in electricity prices is a real threat to the competitiveness of European economies and social systems in Central and Eastern European countries and requires measures for energy diversification and improving supply chains within the EU. This was the common position of President Rumen Radev and his Czech counterpart, Milos Zeman, who today held plenary talks between the delegations of Bulgaria and the Czech Republic and earlier held a one-on-one meeting in Prague, where the Bulgarian head of state is on a formal visit.

In Prague's Hradcany Castle, Rumen Radev and his wife Desislava Radeva were welcomed with a ceremony by Czech President Milos Zeman and his wife Ivana Zemanova.

President Radev noted that the war in Ukraine posed new challenges for the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU, which would start in about a month and would last until the end of the year. According to Radev, the Czech Republic - as a country from Central and Eastern Europe, where the war from Ukraine was being felt most severely - had the capacity to lead Europe in these difficult times. The Head of State expressed Bulgaria's support for the Czech Republic in achieving the most effective solutions.

We have to be careful with the crises that arise from this war and it is extremely important that the sanctions we impose be effective and that we do not allow them to damage our economic and social systems, Rumen Radev said. The President added that the suspension of oil supplies would not have a positive impact on the economies of the EU countries and called for a careful implementation of the sanctions and taking into account the peculiarities of each country.

In their joint statements to the media in Prague, Radev and Zeman condemned the Russian aggression in Ukraine and expressed both countries' sympathy with the victims of the conflict. Hundreds of thousands of refugees from Ukraine have sought refuge in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. What we need to do together is to commit more to our strategic autonomy and the energy independence of our countries. In this respect, we must be attentive to the crises that arise from this war, Rumen Radev said. The Bulgarian head of state pointed out that calls for an end to hostilities and promotion of negotiations are giving way to bellicose rhetoric and incantations of victory, which is a precondition for a long war with exhaustion and grave consequences.

Radev also pointed out that Russia's invasion of Ukraine fundamentally changed the security environment in Europe, required a unified response within the EU and NATO, a rethinking, as well as a deep and decisive transformation of approaches to ensuring security. In his words, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic have strong traditions in the defence industry and within the talks with Milos Zeman the possibilities for joint efforts in this direction were discussed.

In the context of the upcoming Czech presidency, the two presidents also discussed issues on the European agenda, which require joint efforts for a more united, more secure and stronger Europe, for the protection of the common European borders, as well as for a unified approach to the migration crisis. A faster transition to a digital economy and a single energy market were also discussed.

Achieving climate neutrality without losing our competitiveness is impossible without creating conditions for the development of nuclear energy, Rumen Radev said. That is why, in his words, the EU should not allow the rapid deployment of modern renewable technologies at the expense of the closure of baseload capacities such as coal, nuclear energy, or gas power generation.

The Czech head of state expressed his country's support for Bulgaria's accession to the Schengen area. He also noted the excellent bilateral relations between Bulgaria and the Czech Republic and the record high level of bilateral trade. In 2021, the trade amounted to EUR 1.727 billion, an increase of 18%. Rumen Radev noted the potential of deepening cooperation through joint investments and projects in areas such as innovation, information technology, the automotive and defence industries, energy, healthcare, tourism, and infrastructure.

Rumen Radev also highlighted the deep historical ties between the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, dating back to the 9th century with the historic mission of the brothers Cyril and Methodius. The Bulgarian President also pointed to the good cooperation in science, culture and education. We highly value the study of the Bulgarian language at Charles University in Prague and of the Czech language in Bulgaria. This is an important condition for a free exchange in culture, economy, education, in all areas of modern life, the President said.

Rumen Radev's official visit to Prague continued with meetings with the Presidents of the Senate and the House of Representatives of Czech Parliament, Milos Vystrcil and Marketa Pekarova Adamova. He is also due to meet with Prime Minister Petr Fiala. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodora Genchovska as well as representatives of the Bulgarian business are accompanying the President.

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