Europe needs measures for accelerated economic growth, according to Presidents Napolitano and Plevneliev
Bulgaria and Italy share a common vision of the need for economic growth, based on job creation measures, measures to support small and medium business, effective investment of public funds in major infrastructure projects, creating a stable social environment and financial stability. These are part of the long-term priorities for each country, said President Rosen Plevneliev, who met today with his Italian counterpart Giorgio Napolitano in Rome. At the invitation of President Napolitano, Bulgaria’s Head of State is on an official visit to Italy. This is the first official visit of President Plevneliev after his inauguration.
The two heads of state described relations between Bulgaria and Italy as excellent, based on long standing traditions, common priorities and strong cultural co-operation.
Presidents Plevneliev and Napolitano agreed that the European Union has the potential and can cope with the continuing economic crisis. The overall assessment was that the European fiscal pact is a necessary condition for the stabilization of national budgets and should be the foundation for the promotion of new development policies. Bulgarian institutions will use the Italian experience and ideas in pursuit of national strategic priorities, the Bulgarian President said.
Rosen Plevneliev expressed his satisfaction with the active trade and economic contacts between the two countries – Italy is Bulgaria’s second most important trading partner within the EU and one of the largest investors in the country. More than 700 Italian companies are operating in Bulgaria. President Plevneliev emphasised that Bulgaria will do what is necessary to extend this partnership through the implementation of joint projects in agriculture, energy and regional co-operation. “The geopolitical position of Bulgaria put it at the crossroads between the Black Sea and the Balkans in terms of energy. This is particularly important for Italy,” Giorgio Napolitano said.
President Napolitano welcomed the efforts of Bulgarian institutions to implement reforms and achieve concrete results in the economy, justice and administration. He said that the Bulgarian state fulfills the conditions required for membership of the Schengen zone and Italy supports the country's accession to the zone. President Napolitano noted that Italy was one of the first countries to eliminate restrictions on Bulgarian workers.
Bulgaria and Italy confirmed their strong position on completing the process of European integration of Western Balkan countries. There is no alternative to these countries joining the EU and NATO and they should do so as soon as the necessary reforms are completed.
Rosen Plevneliev visited the St. Vincent and Anastasius church, made available for use by the Bulgarian community by Pope John Paul II.
During his visit, the Bulgarian Head of State met with Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Italian Parliament, Gianfranco Fini. During his meeting with President Plevneliev, Mr Fini expressed hope that Bulgaria will join Schengen as early as September 2012. Bulgaria is a good, stable neighbor and reliable partner in the region, Mr Fini said.
The Bulgarian Head of State’s forthcoming meetings include representatives of the Italian private sector and with the Bulgarian community in the Italian capital.