Head of State Rumen Radev: Bulgaria Supports Serbia for Conducting Reforms on its European Path and for Ensuring Good-neighborly Relations in the Region
Together with the Republic of Serbia we are ready to work together to strengthen the good-neighborly relations in the Western Balkans region and to implement key reforms for its European prospects in the political, economic and social sphere. This is what Head of State Rumen Radev said at a joint news conference together with the President of Serbia Alexander Vucic.
Serbian Head of State Alexander Vucic is on an official visit to Bulgaria at the invitation of the Bulgarian President.
Rumen Radev voiced approval of the indicative timeframe proposed by the European Commission for EU enlargement by 2025 and identified this period as clear prospects for Bulgaria’s and Serbia’s common European future. The Bulgarian Head of State voiced hope that soon the bilateral relations between Sofia and Belgrade in the sphere of infrastructure and energy connectivity will become stronger. The completion of the Nis-Sofia highway, the construction of the gas interconnector between the two countries, the optimization and electrification of the railway transport and the increase of the number and efficiency of border check points at the common border were identified as concrete priority projects for the two countries.
President Rumen Radev thanked his Serbian counterpart for the amendments made in Serbia’s legislation vis-à-vis the national minorities on the territory of Bulgaria’s western neighbor. However, he called for pooling efforts to implement the legislative measures related to the Bulgarian population. “More efforts should be put into this activity and the progress of Serbia’s legislation should reach the local level and we should achieve results at the concrete places. We discussed the problems in these regions, which include the lack of a sufficient number of investments, the low employment, the insufficient access to mother tongue education, health and social services,” President Rumen Radev said. The Presidents of Bulgaria and Serbia also assumed the commitment to take short-term measures to ensure that the Bulgarians living in Serbia have more access to information in Bulgarian by addressing the problem related to the insufficient funding of the media in the mother tongue in the regions of Dimitrovgrad and Bosilegrad.
President Radev invited Alexander Vucic to take part in the Single European Sky initiative by joining the Functional Airspace Block (Danube FAB) between Bulgaria and Serbia. “The air space of Serbia is of strategic interest to the region and together Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia can be part of the Single European Sky for the sake of the efficiency and safety of air transport. We should adopt a comprehensive approach when we talk about expanding our cooperation," the Head of State said.
In reply to a journalist’s question, the Bulgarian President called for a peaceful and mutually beneficial for all parties involved solution in the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo. “Bulgaria highly appreciates the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. There is no alternative to this dialogue. We need to seek a peaceful solution to all the problems,” Rumen Radev said and recalled that essential to the negotiation process is to make an in-depth analysis of the solutions and to forecast their long-term effects.
Serbian President Alexander Vucic thanked for Bulgaria’s support for Serbia on its European path. “The peoples of Bulgaria and Serbia are friendly and fraternal peoples and I am convinced that we will have very good close cooperation in the future as well,” Alexander Vucic said. He highlighted the broad opportunities for cooperation between state and private companies from the two countries in many areas, including the military industry.
The Serbian Head of State assured that measures will shortly be taken not only at the political but also at the local level to improve the conditions of life of the Bulgarians living to the west of Bulgaria’s border. "We are fully open to discuss all issues that will enable the Bulgarian national minority to feel and live better," Alexander Vucic said.
The Bulgarian Head of State accepted Alexander Vucic’s invitation to visit Serbia together with representatives of Bulgarian business to discuss specific projects to promote bilateral trade. The two presidents will also visit the regions inhabited by the Bulgarian national minority in the Republic of Serbia.