Source: Republic of Greece – Foreign Affairs
Thank you for your hospitality. It is a great pleasure for me to be amongst friends here in Sofia and to have the opportunity to meet with the state and political leadership of Bulgaria.
We are, as you very rightly said, close partners, allies and friends. Today we play a key role in our region’s stability and development and we spare no effort in contributing to our neighbours’ European path.
It is therefore only natural, that both our countries are committed to reinforcing their cooperation on the bilateral and the regional level. Next year, as you mentioned during our talks, we will be celebrating 140 years of diplomatic relations and this will be a great opportunity to set the foundations for an even more substantial and mutually beneficial cooperation.
As you know, we are one of the major investors in Bulgaria and we always encourage Greek investors to come and invest in your friendly country, while at the same time, we invite Bulgarian potential investors in Greece.
Minister Zaharieva and I exchanged views on a wide range of bilateral, European and regional issues.
In addition, we discussed issues that have to do with the multilateral schemes that we both participate in. In this context, Greece is ready to host the 4th High Level Cooperation Council, which will give new impetus to our cooperation.
Regarding EU issues, we discussed the various challenges the Union faces, especially in the recent period.
My colleague and I also talked about energy issues. I reiterated our government’s desire to conclude the intergovernmental agreement on the Greece-Bulgaria Gas Interconnector project (IGB). Ι also stressed to the Minister and I had the chance to say this to the Prime Minister, that we fully support Bulgaria’s efforts to join the Eurozone and the Schengen area.
Greece is a pillar of stability and cooperation in the Balkans and has always been a supporter of the European Union’s Enlargement Policy. We encourage and support the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries, on the condition that they meet of course the set criteria and conditionality.
In this context, and regarding the Republic of North Macedonia, we place particular importance to the full and consistent implementation of the Prespa Agreement.
In closing, I would like to say that I informed Minister Zaharieva regarding Turkey’s illegal conduct in the broader area. As you know, despite the EU’s strong and clear messages and the international community’s concerns as they have explicitly been expressed, Turkey continues to violate International Law by its ongoing illegal activities within the territorial waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus, which is an EU Member State. It is also demonstrating an increasingly dangerous conduct in the Aegean Sea.
Once again, dear colleague, thank you for your warm hospitality which I look forward to reciprocating at the earliest opportunity.