Αρχική > FYROM, REAL/TRUE MACEDONIA > Hellenic MoFA: Joint statements of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Venizelos and Bulgarian Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin

Hellenic MoFA: Joint statements of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Venizelos and Bulgarian Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin

Οκτώβριος 17, 2013 Σχολιάστε Go to comments

venizelos vegenin ypex bgHellenic MoFA, 17-10-13

E. VENIZELOS: It is a great pleasure for me to welcome today here at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece my colleague and friend, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria.

We often cooperate within the framework of the European Union, but also at various meetings on the multilateral level. But still when it comes to making a formal visit to Greece this is an indication which highlights the importance of our excellent bilateral relations…………….

We thus had the opportunity to discuss all the bilateral issues that concern both countries, and indeed we thus proceeded with making decisions, with a view to providing speedy solutions to all pending issues.

During our meeting the two of us also discussed international and regional affairs, and we believe that there is one common denominator that characterizes our relations, and this is linked to the fact that there is a common will and volition on both our parts in order to provide solutions to everything and thus progress on issues of bilateral and multilateral concern.

I also briefed my colleague on the priorities and the objectives of the upcoming Greek presidency of the EU, the Council that is, and we also jointly decided to undertake joint initiatives touching on the wider region of Southeast Europe.

We are both concerned about the migration flows, issues of border control – the flows of incoming illegal migrants that do not have papers and documents on them. And we wish to take care of all the aforementioned issues in the framework of EU rules and regulations, with an enhanced European Union presence and forthcoming funding.

The humanitarian disaster that we have witnessed in both Sicily and Lampedusa indeed signifies the importance of placing particular emphasis on solving such issues, and of course it can be done and is a priority for the European presidency.

The agreement that has been made with regard to the new natural gas pipeline – the TAP – and he Interconnector Greece Bulgaria (IGB) pipeline is indeed an agreement that helps bring together and connects Greece and Bulgaria, and offers ample ground for further cooperation between the two countries.

Moreover, we discussed traditional issues of concern. We are always working in the field of cross-border cooperation, with a view to also including issues pertaining to border management.

Moreover, we are looking forward to opening up new pathways of communication, which is indeed happening, with a view to helping the tourism industry, among other sectors.

On a final note, we do share history, a long history. We share geographical location. We are friends, allies, strategic partners. We work closely together as we are united by the Euroatlantic structures. This is our destiny, and we are determined to continue working together.

K. VIGENIN: Thank you, Minister. First of all, I would like to maybe confirm what Mr. Venizelos said about the substance of our discussions today. I find our communication very active, intensive and fruitful, and I am sure it will continue like that in the future as well.

For Bulgaria, relations with Greece are strategic, and we will continue to broaden the scope of these relations and further improve them, not only on the bilateral level but also in the framework of the multilateral organizations, both regional, European and international, that we are part of.

We fully support the priorities of the Greek presidency of the Council that have already been made public, and we will do our best as a neighbour and as a country which is a member of the European Union to support the success of the Greek presidency in the six months starting on the 1st of January.

We agreed with the Minister to continue our coordination on a number of important issues related to the work within the European Union, within the European institutions, but also here on the bilateral level, so that the remaining issues, which – some of them are more technical – the Minister already mentioned, can be solved as soon as possible, if there is political will in that direction, so that solving these minor, sometimes technical, issues will give us the possibility to concentrate much more on the big strategic issues.

I thank you once again for the hospitality and for the very rich programme that I have, even if for a one-day visit. I will be able to meet also the Prime Minister, the President, the Speaker of the Parliament. That only shows also the importance that the Greek side attaches to relations with Bulgaria. Thank you.

JOURNALIST: My question is to both of you. You said you discussed the forthcoming pipeline. Did you actually touch on the wider framework of energy? And what other cooperation fields are opening up there?

Κ. VIGENIN: Well, in the short time we had, we touched on a number of issues. We discussed also the new pipeline, also the interconnector between Greece and Bulgaria. But we agreed that during the working lunch that we have, we will have a broader discussion on the bigger picture, on the energy supplies and energy cooperation and energy diversification in our region and in Europe in general. Thank you.

E. VENIZELOS: It is exactly like the Foreign Minister just said. Indeed, we referred to the TAP and the Greece-Bulgaria interconnector. This is a very important branch of the pipeline that connects Greece to Bulgaria, and indeed this is a new branch of the TAP that will also be supplying energy to South Eastern European countries.

Greece’s position and its participation in this configuration played a very important role in the choice of the TAP over other options. This is a new state of affairs that upgrades our bilateral relations and our cooperation in the energy sector. Later, we will discuss additional issues.

JOURNALIST: A question for Minister Venizelos. Have you been concerned by the fact that we had the publication of the progress report by the Commission, when it comes to Skopje, the name, and the Cypriot issue?

E. VENIZELOS: Indeed, during our private talks of course we referred to the potential enlargement of the European Union and also the Commission’s progress report, which touches on it.

Our stance is well known. The Commission, moreover, communicates such documents to the Council. The Council is the framework within which the member states of the European Union will air their views and make the relevant political decisions on the basis of the Copenhagen criteria.

So we have to respect principles such as European culture, equity, good neighbourly relations.

And then we do support the European, Euroatlantic perspectives, for that matter, of all countries in the Western Balkans. Each and every country in this region is of course a case apart, so it needs to be taken into account as such.

And, once decisions are made on the basis of the aforementioned criteria, we will be there in order to help in good faith, always based on the acquis communautaire and international law.

Κ. VIGENIN: Maybe just a short comment on my side on these reports. We see certain positive developments in the region that were recognized by the European Commission.

Since your question was about the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, you know very well our position. We are still negotiating a treaty for cooperation and good neighbourly relations, so we are expecting that this process could be accelerated, and again I underline what Mr. Venizelos mentioned. The issue of good neighbourly relations is a key issue for any country which is aspiring to membership in the European Union.

So from now on the discussions will continue until the Council meeting. It’s too early to discuss concrete positions and issues, but clear points are on the table.

So I would say that it’s the side of Skopje to react now to the report of the Commission and to the outstanding issues with the neighbouring countries.

17/10/13, mfa.gr

 

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