NEWS

Greek, Bulgarian PMs talk regional stability, energy

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Energy and the European perspective of the Western Balkans, as well as regional stability, topped the agenda on Monday in Sofia between Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, his Bulgarian counterpart, Kiril Petkov, and the country’s president, Rumen Radev.

The talks highlighted the coordination between the two countries to cooperate in the field of energy.

Petkov and Mitsotakis noted that the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) is the first priority for both governments. “Its completion is a matter of months,” said Mitsotakis, noting that the delays have been due to Covid-19.

Referring to the the accession perspective of the Western Balkans, Mitsotakis said, “Greece supports the European future of the candidate countries, but without forgetting that they must meet the criteria that have been set for their accession to the Union.”

He added Greece is looking forward to the immediate and simultaneous convening of the first intergovernmental conferences with North Macedonia and Albania. “We count on your support for this common goal,” Mitsotakis said to Petkov.

Regarding the refugee issue, Athens and Sofia stressed the need for better cooperation as both countries share hundreds of kilometers of border with Turkey. Petkov said it makes sense to “have good coordination so that we can be more effective in protecting Europe’s borders.”

As for relations with Turkey, Mitsotakis stressed that the European Council has given Ankara two options: the cessation of provocative actions, “including the unthinkable casus belli with which Turkey continues to threaten Greece.”

Petkov noted that, for Bulgaria, having a “good neighborhood” is a key goal, and “we are always ready to discuss any issues related to potential problems in the region in order to achieve a good neighborhood in the long run.”

What’s more, both referred to the NATO infrastructure projects that will be developed both in Greece (Alexandroupoli) and in Bulgaria (Burgas and Varna) in order to support the transfer of forces through.