Rumen Radev: Bulgaria Supports the Example of Montenegro for Progress in European Integration Based on Deep Reforms and the Principle of Own Merits

2024-06-17 17:34:00
Improving connectivity between our countries is a key condition for the economic development of Southeast Europe, President Rumen Radev said during an official visit to Montenegro
Montenegro is a leader among the countries of the Western Balkans on the path of European integration, and Bulgaria supports the progress made by the country in recent months as a prerequisite for accelerating the process. This was stated by President Rumen Radev at a joint press conference with the head of state of Montenegro Jakov Milatovic, which was held in the historic Montenegrin capital Cetinje.
The Bulgarian head of state is on an official visit to Montenegro, which began with a solemn ceremony in front of the "Blue Palace" presidential palace. Rumen Radev and his spouse Desislava Radeva were welcomed by Jakov Milatovic and his spouse Milena Milatovic, after which the two presidents held a one-on-one meeting and led the plenary talks between the official delegations of Bulgaria and Montenegro.
Presidents Radev and Milatovic highlighted the centuries-old cultural, historical and spiritual ties that connect Bulgaria and Montenegro, as well as the long-standing friendship and mutual respect between the two countries. Bulgaria values extremely highly the excellent relations with Montenegro, our constructive partnership, common goals and shared values within the framework of NATO, and I believe that very soon - also within the framework of the EU," said President Radev to the Bulgarian and Montenegrin media in Cetinje. The head of state declared the readiness of our country to continue providing technical and expert assistance to Montenegro in support of its efforts for full membership in the union and welcomed the progress reported by the EC in terms of reforms in the sphere of justice and the judicial system. Rumen Radev emphasised that Montenegro sets an example for the rest of the countries of the Western Balkans, how European integration should be based on the principles of own merits and deep reforms, so that all membership criteria are met, the process is sustainable and irreversible. President Milatovic expressed his gratitude to Bulgaria for the consistent political and expert support and expressed his expectation that it will continue. Our goal is for Montenegro to become the 28th member state of the EU by 2028, said the Montenegrin head of state.
Radev expressed the expectation that Bulgaria will continue to be the main engine in supporting the European integration of the Western Balkans. I expect that the new Bulgarian parliament and government will adhere to the policies that guarantee the sustainability and irreversibility of the integration process in the Western Balkans, the president said and pointed out that this process should not be based on geostrategic circumstances, but should take into account the criteria for building good neighbourly relations, the observance of human rights and the rule of law. In response to a question about allegations in Serbian media, President Rumen Radev indicated that the topic of revising our country's support for the European integration of countries with a Bulgarian national minority was not raised, but a principled position was presented. Bulgaria monitors compliance with the Copenhagen criteria for membership in the EU and the possibility that our compatriots in the countries of our region have the opportunity to defend their national identity, the freedom to express themselves and preserve their culture, language and traditions, as well as to have conditions for economic and social development, Rumen Radev pointed out.
During their joint statements, Presidents Radev and Milatovic noted the potential for strengthening economic relations between Bulgaria and Montenegro, pointing out the prospects for deepening partnerships in the fields of innovation, high technologies, investments, education, energy, trade, agriculture, transport. A key condition for realizing these opportunities and developing our cooperation is the improvement of transport, digital and energy connectivity between our countries and in the region, Rumen Radev pointed out. The head of state added that in the context of strengthening connectivity, Bulgaria will support Montenegro's intention to join as an associated country participating in the "Three Seas" initiative. The two presidents welcomed the efforts to open a direct airline between Bulgaria and Montenegro as a step to promote contacts between businesses, tourism and trade-economic partnership.
During the meeting, constructive cooperation in the field of security and defence was also discussed, with the presidents highlighting the allied relations within NATO in terms of stability in the region of Southeast Europe. President Radev pointed out that our country highly appreciates the participation of the Montenegrin servicemen in the Multinational Battlegroup in Bulgaria to guarantee common security and stability in Europe.
After the official welcome and talks at the presidential palace in Cetinje, the visit of the Bulgarian head of state continued with meeting in Podgorica with the Speaker of the Assembly Andria Mandic.
The focus of President Rumen Radev's talks during the visit are topics related to further deepening and strengthening of bilateral cooperation in areas of mutual interest, as well as support for Montenegro's progress in the EU accession process.


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