Rumen Radev: Bulgaria Is Negotiating on the Parameters of EUR 600 million EC Support for the Protection of EU's External Borders2023-03-23 14:43:00
Bulgaria is increasingly establishing itself as a country, which, along with the reasoned defence of its interests, generates important initiatives and ideas contributing to the formation of effective European policies. This is what President Rumen Radev said in Brussels before the start of the European Council meeting. The head of State stressed that due to its insistent and well-reasoned position at several European Council meetings, Bulgaria has achieved a significant breakthrough in the European policy on migration.
Just a few days ago, this country, together with the European Commission, launched a pilot project to reduce illegal migration and strengthen its border, Rumen Radev said. The President expressed his gratitude to the President of the European Commission and the EU countries for the solidarity and shared commitment to the protection of the external European borders, as well as for the support provided for the actions undertaken by Bulgaria in this regard.
On 14 March, a new strategic approach for the protection of the Union's external borders was adopted and EUR 600 million will be invested in technical assistance. It is noted that the first priority is the key Bulgarian-Turkish border, i.e. the bulk of the funds is allotted to Bulgaria, the head of State explained. Radev added that the Bulgarian side is already actively negotiating the technical parameters of this assistance.
Bulgaria has already made a proposal to set up an international task force on the territory of Bulgaria to fight illegal trafficking, as the traffickers caught in Bulgaria are citizens of almost all EU member states. The interrogations of these traffickers show that a number of the leading financial centres of this powerful international network are in countries that are attractive to migrants, not in Bulgaria, the President said. He stressed that such an international task force would facilitate coordination and exchange of information, as well as concerted actions to dismantle the centres managing the illegal trafficking of people to Europe.
In the President's words, all the efforts Bulgaria is making and the results it has achieved are being increasingly appreciated and this country is receiving greater support for its Schengen membership, including a specific period in which it can achieve this. I very much hope that the next cabinet and parliament will maintain this momentum, adopt the necessary laws, and in the same way firmly defend the interests of the country, Rumen Radev said.
Responding to a question, the head of State stressed that Bulgaria is an important part of the European Peace Facility, which aims at strengthening the defence capabilities of the EU countries in the light of the European vision of strategic autonomy. Commissioner Thierry Breton's visit started from Bulgaria, in recognition of the traditions, experience and great capacity of the Bulgarian defence industry, the President pointed out, adding that together with the European Commission, this country will continue to attract investments in this sector to build more modern industries and replenish its stock.
But Bulgaria, along with nine other EU countries, is not participating in the joint supply of shells to Ukraine as part of this initiative, Rumen Radev further stressed.
The head of State also pointed out that Bulgaria is interested in introducing technologies so that it could also manufacture ammunition according to NATO standards, and the Programme for Priority Investment Expenditures submitted by the Ministry of Defence to the previous parliament envisaged the acquisition of 155 mm howitzers according to NATO standards. Unfortunately, Parliament rejected and did not even consider this programme. You know how there was a lot of talk about the modernisation of the Bulgarian army, and at the same time the program of the Ministry of Defence was not even considered, Radev concluded.