Borisov and Tsipras present Juncker with Balkan plan
The two prime ministers will travel for a meeting in Brussels in October
8 September, 2017
In October, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras will ask for a meeting with the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker to present their vision for the Balkan region and seek support for the project the two countries signed on 6 September. The news came from Prime Minister Boyko Borisov following his meeting with Tsipras in Kavala.
According to the premier, the two countries have an opportunity to explain and justify the reasoning behind the planned railroad, connecting Thessaloniki and Rousse to the EC, and turn it from a project on paper into reality. Borisov noted that there will be another meeting on 3 October in Varna, which will be attended not only by Tsipras but also by representatives from Romania and Serbia, as the hope is these countries will also want to join the project.
“We have the rare opportunity to prove that the Balkan Peninsula is not a powder keg but a potentially prosperous region,” Borisov said regarding Bulgaria’s presidency of the Council of the EU, which Tsipras earlier described as “Balkan presidency”.
“One of the Balkan countries’ biggest problems has always been their race to prove which one is the greatest. Which is why, with characteristic modesty, we start with more simple tasks. We are working on the Sofia-Belgrade highway and it will be finished within a year. We have a railroad and a highway connecting us to Istanbul and Thessaloniki. We face the rare chance of linking the Aegean Sea with Bulgaria’s two Black Sea ports,” explained Borisov. He believes that, following the signing of the memorandum of understanding between Bulgaria and Greece, Kavala will be able to trade with the budding economies of Rousse and Bucharest.
“We thought that, given the Danube strategy [EU Strategy for the Danube Region], Bucharest can easily join the project. If we get to Rousse, why not include Romania too,” the premier continued, adding that the Danube is a portal to Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic. “We have come to the conclusion that the best thing is to bring the economies together,” Borisov said. He says he and Tsipras want to show how the region is being united, as it would help boost people’s personal income too.
“We may not be perfect but we are times better than perceived, and we are an extremely reliable external border of the EU,” commented Borisov and reminded the way the two countries handled the economic and migrant crises.
Tsipras stressed that the cooperation between the two countries is of great significance, and a good example to be followed. According to him, new opportunities for cooperation in the energy and transport sectors are also emerging.