The President: Deepening the Economic and Transport Connectivity Between Bulgaria and Serbia is an Investment in the Common European Future of the Region
Bulgaria is ready to offer expert support for translating the secondary education schoolbooks for our compatriots in Serbia into the6 Bulgarian language, stated Mr. Rumen Radev during a meeting in Dimitrovgrad with his Serbian counterpart, Mr. Aleksandar Vu?i?
Deepening the economic and transport connectivity between Bulgaria and Serbia is an investment in the common European future of our region, declared the Head of State Rumen Radev today during a joint press conference with the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vu?i?. “We have good cooperation, openness and sincerity in discussing all issues, as well as a clear vision of how to deepen our cooperation, achieve even greater success and pave our common European way,” the Bulgarian Head of State further noted.
Mr. Rumen Radev is visiting Dimitrovgrad (Tsaribrod), where he met with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vu?i?, following which both Presidents talked to representatives of the Bulgarian national minority in the Republic of Serbia. The two Heads of State also unveiled a monument of the Saints Cyril and Methodius in the yard of the secondary school in the town that bears the name of the Apostles to the Slavs.
The Bulgarian President pointed out the progress in the construction of the motorway connecting the two capitals – Sofia and Belgrade – and expressed his expectations for our country to conclude its part of the project within two years. Mr. Rumen Radev further emphasised the importance of the joint projects in the field of energy diversification: “Building the Bulgaria-Serbia interconnector will connect the national gas pipeline systems in the two countries and will increase the security in energy resource supply,” the Head of State indicated.
Achieving real connectivity requires creating all the possible preconditions for promoting communication between people on both sides of the border, Mr. Rumen Radev underlined. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, more than four hundred thousand Serbian tourists visited our country and more than five hundred thousand Bulgarian tourists visited Serbia, and “people guide us and show us themselves where we should be heading,” Mr. Rumen Radev said. In this regard, the opportunity for building new border posts to stimulate investment and cultural and educational exchange and tourism was discussed.
Mr. Rumen Radev thanked his colleague Mr. Aleksandar Vu?i? for his commitment to support the Bulgarian national minority in the country, made in 2018 during his visit to the Republic of Serbia, and notably for the significant financial support for media broadcasting content in the Bulgarian language. The President expressed his expectation for this support for the Bulgarian national minority in the Republic of Serbia to become a lasting policy. “Developing our relations must be aimed at contributing to the bilateral socio-economic, spiritual, cultural and educational development of our minority, for which Bulgaria is willing to contribute significantly,” Mr. Rumen Radev outlined.
The Bulgarian state is ready to offer expert support in translating schoolbooks for secondary education for our compatriots in the Republic of Serbia, the President announced. A delegation of the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy will also meet representatives of local authorities in the regions where the Bulgarian national minority in Serbia live.
“We can solve problems and give a perspective, so that our compatriots here can be proud, feel free, feel Bulgarian, maintain their national self-identity, roots, language and spirituality, and meanwhile be loyal citizens to the country they live in,” the Bulgarian President stated.
When answering a journalist’s question, Mr. Rumen Radev stated that he expects higher activity and more unity on behalf of the National Council of the Bulgarian National Minority on all issues concerning our compatriots in Serbia, including solving the problem with Bulgarian suffixes to female surnames.
Questioned about the future support of Bulgaria for the Republic of Serbia’s integration process in the European Union, President Rumen Radev recalled that Bulgaria has always provided principled and consistent help to the Republic of Serbia on its path towards United Europe. “We have also always supported the fulfilling dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and we believe this is an important topic for our region,” the Bulgarian Head of State answered when asked about the attitude of Bulgaria towards the dialogue between the Republic of Serbia and Kosovo. He further added that Bulgaria will also continue doing everything possible to stimulate this dialogue and seek a permanent solution to the issue within the EU as well.
“I am happy with our bilateral relations with the Republic of Bulgaria. We have good trade levels that can also grow. We have true friendly relations with the Bulgarian state and Bulgarian people,” stated the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vu?i?. “Today we heard the problems of the Bulgarian national minority in Serbia in terms of education, history, trade and job creation. We do not see any problems that could separate us,” he further added, and expressed the readiness of the Serbian state to work for attracting investors to the regions where the Bulgarian national minority lives.
The Serbian Head of State highly appreciated the progress on joint connectivity projects, notably in the field of road infrastructure and energy diversification. Aleksandar Vu?i? expressed the gratitude of the Serbian people for the support Bulgaria along Serbia’s path of European integration.