Greece and Bulgaria signed several memoranda of cooperation on security, economy, energy, transport, infrastructure and cross-border cooperation during the 4th Greece-Bulgaria High Level Cooperation Council in Alexandroupoli on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in joint statements with his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov that the MoUs enhance the two countries’ strategic partnership.
The MoUs include the Greece-Bulgaria cross-border rail traffic agreement, signed between Transport Minister Achilleas Karamanlis and his Bulgarian counterpart Rossen Jeliazkov. The deal will connect the cities of Kavala, Alexandroupoli, Burgas and Varna by rail.
The two countries also plan to built major road networks, one of which will connect Alexandroupoli with Dimitrovgrad, which Mitsotakis said will contribute towards “a new commercial significance of all Greek ports in the Aegean, now connected with Ruse port on the Danube.”
Mitsotakis and Borisov also agreed to look into the upgrading of the Nymfea-Makaza border crossing to allow trucks and buses through.
The Enterprise Greece-Invest Bulgaria Agency memorandum of understanding will provide for the exchange of information on investment opportunities in the two countries, market research and the provision of statistics.
“Greece and Bulgaria have decided to move along the path of peace and development, in our countries, in the Balkans and throughout our wider region,” Mitsotakis said in the press conference.
The two countries also adopted a Joint Declaration on cooperation in tourism. Mitsotakis said Greece is the sixth largest investor in Bulgaria, while some 1.5 million Greeks traveled there in 2019 and Greece remains the top European tourist destination for Bulgarians.
He said the two countries also agree on the importance of “respecting international law, more so in the troubled region of the southeastern Mediterranean.”
“The European Union and all member states must therefore send clearer and stricter messages to Ankara,” he added.
In his part, Borisov underlined the importance of the joint efforts to accelerate the pace of implementation of the projects on which the two countries cooperate.
He cited the IGB Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria project, and how its construction, as well as the supply of the required pipes, was contracted by “a completely transparent tender” to two Greek companies. He asked Mitsotakis to go ahead with required actions that will see the completion of this project within the year.
Borisov made a special reference to the migration crisis and congratulated Mitsotakis on the measures taken by his government, thanks to which, he said, “Bulgaria has zero influx of migrants.”
Regarding Albania and North Macedonia, Borisov said both Bulgaria and Greece have respected their commitments to Albania and North Macedonia, and emphasized that these countries should do the same for Greece and Bulgaria.