Bulgaria and Malta Share Common Positions vis-à-vis the Migration Policy and the Protection of the External EU Borders
Cohesion policy and social convergence lie at the basis of the unity and success of the European Union. This was the common stance shared by the Heads of State of Bulgaria and Malta Rumen Radev and Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, who held talks at 2 Dondukov street today. The President of Malta is on a state visit in Bulgaria at the invitation of the Bulgarian Head of State and the delegation she heads includes representatives of the executive branch of power and also of more than 50 Maltese companies. At a joint news conference, the two presidents called for a more prompt alignment of living standards and economic development between the North and South and the East and West in Europe.
In March 2018, the first European conference to discuss the EU's Multi-annual Financial Framework for the post-2020 period will be held in Sofia and this is a good time for European policies to focus on economic and social cohesion in Europe, Rumen Radev said. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca praised Bulgaria for the motto of the EU Presidency, “United We Stand Strong”, and assured that the two countries will work together to build a competitive union to promote cohesion.
Both Rumen Radev and Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca highlighted the need for an active EU policy towards migrants’ countries of origin and for solidarity with the states that protect the external EU borders. “A lasting solution is only possible by ensuring greater security and stability of the regions of origin of migrants and refugees and by facilitating their economic and social development and special attention should be paid to education and health,” Rumen Radev said. The President added that Europe should not become a stronghold but should actively assist the institutions and citizens of the countries affected by the crisis to resolve their problems instead of seeking salvation in the social system of Europe.
“It is essential that we have a unified European asylum-granting policy and this is one of the topics on the agenda of Bulgaria’s Presidency of the Council of the EU,” Rumen Radev said. Showing solidarity with the European countries on the front line is extremely important. We cannot resolve the migration crisis on our own, the President of Malta added.
Promoting business contacts, the cooperation between the airlines of the two countries, as well as the partnership in industry, information technologies, investment and tourism are areas where Bulgaria and Malta will seek to expand bilateral trade. In the past 20 years, Maltese investments in Bulgaria have reached 320 million euros, and the annual trade stood at 60 million euros. In Rumen Radev’s words, the two countries had a much higher potential for economic partnership. “The presence of such a strong business delegation from Malta is also a sign of our commitment and political will to develop sustainable cooperation and potential partnerships to achieve prosperity for our two countries,” Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca said.
The two shared the opinion that the active cooperation between Bulgaria and Malta in the sphere of culture will contribute to the development of bilateral relations. Valletta is the European capital of culture in 2018 and Plovdiv will be such a capital in 2019. Rumen Radev thanked Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca for being the first President who celebrated together with our compatriots in Malta the day of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius and for a couple of years offered her residence to mark the day. At the meeting between the two Presidents the opportunity for regulating the child adoption policy was also discussed.
The official welcoming ceremony of Malta’s Head of State took place in the St. Alexander Nevski square. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca laid a wreath in front of the Monument of the Unknown Soldier.
Later today, the Presidents of Bulgaria and Malta will close the Bulgarian-Maltese business forum that was held during the day. At the forum memorandums for cooperation between the Executive Agency for Promoting SMEs and Trade Malta, between the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Maltese Trade Chamber, between the Chamber of Commerce of Burgas and the Chamber of Commerce of Gozo were signed. An agreement was also signed between the University for National and World Economy (UNWE) and the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies.
During her visit to Bulgaria, the President of Malta is accompanied by her husband Edgar Preca.