2022-05-16 19:25:00

Rumen Radev from Berlin: All of Bulgaria's important positions on the EU agenda are understood by Germany, our strategic partner

I do not accept Bulgarians to be killed with Bulgarian weapons in one way or another,
and the self-serving calls of some of our politicians to export arms to Ukraine be
packaged as a moral duty, the President tells journalists

All of Bulgaria's important positions on the EU agenda are understood by our strategic partner, Germany. This is what President Rumen Radev told journalists in Berlin. The Head of State is visiting the Federal Republic of Germany at the invitation of his opposite number Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The two held a one-on-one meeting at the Bellevue Presidential Palace in Berlin. Afterwards, the Bulgarian President also held talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Federal Chancellery. The meeting between the two lasted more than an hour.
The talks focused on bilateral relations, the deepening of economic and investment cooperation, topics on the European Union's agenda, the diversification of energy supplies, strengthening Europe's security in the context of the war in Ukraine and the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries.
The dialogue at the top political level is important for our effective cooperation and for the much-needed common positions within the EU, the Bulgarian President stressed. He pointed out that it was necessary to seek common solutions that would be most beneficial for both countries in view of the suspended natural gas supplies from Russia. In the President's words, in order to achieve a real and sustainable diversification of natural gas supplies, time and efforts will be needed to build the necessary infrastructure, as well as to conclude new contracts. Rumen Radev said that Germany understands and supports Bulgaria's request for a derogation on crude oil imports.
The reasoned Bulgarian position regarding the Republic of North Macedonia is also understood, President Rumen Radev said. He also stressed that the tendency for our national position on the issue to become hostage to the conflict in Ukraine should not be allowed to gain strength within the European institutions. It is astonishing how Europe, which has become an example for the rest of the world in terms of democracy and human rights, tolerance and resistance to hate speech, is ready to turn its back on these principles and values, the Head of State said and warned that the legitimisation of ideologies from the former Yugoslavia and the Communist International would have long-term adverse consequences for the European Union. As a responsible EU member, Bulgaria should integrate partners, not problems, into the Union, the President further said.
Referring to the war in Ukraine discussed during the talks, the President said that it was necessary to seek a solution to end the conflict in Ukraine as soon as possible, because every day of this war is a loss not only for Ukraine and Russia, but also a loss for the whole of Europe. It should be clear that Bulgaria is part of all European and NATO decisions regarding Ukraine. But there is no imperative to provide arms, the President stressed.

In the Head of State's words, our country should not allow the self-serving calls of some of our politicians to necessarily provide arms to Ukraine to be packaged as some kind of moral duty of Bulgaria. Let us not forget, I will remind again, we have a huge historical diaspora. It is located right in the conflict zone. I do not want Bulgarians to be killed with Bulgarian weapons in one way or another. This is unacceptable, Rumen Radev further stressed.
The Head of State recalled that the calls for peace regarding the war in Ukraine were constantly decreasing, and the stakes were now victory at any cost, regardless of the bloodshed, regardless of the destruction and regardless of the casualties.

Responding to a question about the anti-inflationary measures announced by the cabinet, the President pointed out that this was a long-awaited decision by the business community. Radev also said that he had long been calling for an open and constructive dialogue, for long-term solutions, overcoming the energy, economic and social crises, and for predictability for businesses and citizens. Decisions should be the result of a committed policy, not under pressure from the street and potential protests, the Head of State further said, adding that Bulgarian society was still expecting a clear energy strategy and long-term measures.
Earlier in the day, the President met with the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Franziska Giffey. During the talks, it was noted that both Sofia and Berlin were seeking to develop their economies in similar areas such as the IT sector, start-ups, innovation and tourism. The Bulgarian Head of State highlighted the possibility of fostering the partnership between local authorities in the field of urban planning and socialisation of the urban environment. The efforts of the institutions in the two countries to accommodate and integrate refugees from the conflict in Ukraine, as well as the integration of the Roma community, were also discussed.

The bilateral trade of almost EUR 10 billion and the more than 5,000 German companies in Bulgaria are clear indicators of the importance of the Bulgarian-German economic cooperation, Rumen Radev said during the German-Bulgarian Economic Forum, which took place at the House of German Industry in Berlin. The Head of State stressed that this country had the ambition to develop its economic ties with Germany in spheres with increasingly higher added value. Rumen Radev singled out machine-building and the automotive industry, electronics, and high technologies as promising areas. The representatives of the German business, for their part, pointed out that they had invested over EUR 3 billion in Bulgaria and so far almost 60,000 jobs had been created. They also called for more information on the opportunities for economic partnerships with Bulgaria     
The Bulgarian Head of State's delegation included representatives of the leaderships of the nationally represented employers' organisations in Bulgaria, as well as the leadership of Trakia, the largest economic zone in the Balkans. The delegation also includes representatives of businesses with already established partnerships in Germany in the field of alternative energy sources.



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