During the outgoing week, Romania’s Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos paid a visit to Bulgaria. His talks with his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borissov showed that the relations between the two countries are active and have been evolving.
Two days before the Borissov-Ciolos meeting, the Bulgarian gas transmission company Bulgartransgaz and its Romanian partner Transgaz negotiated the construction of a back-up interconnection Bulgaria – Romania. The interconnector will be ready within three months and will allow for trading in natural gas in the region. The prime ministers of the two countries acknowledged this fact as essential in extending and modernizing the gas transmission network and advancing towards gas prospecting and extraction locally. Dacian Ciolos stated that creating a network for the transmission and transportation of gas across the entire region was on the agenda of the upcoming talks between the governments of the two countries.
In the summer and the beginning of autumn the prime ministers and foreign ministers of the two countries will work together on bilateral issues, but also on matters on which they have a shared interest and on relations with Moldova and Serbia. This means taking bilateral relations to a new, multifarious level.
Sofia and Bucharest will coordinate their shared interests with regard to neighbouring countries, but also EU and Schengen external border security, the lifting of the visa regime by Canada for citizens of the two countries and the safeguarding of NATO’s eastern flank. Latest developments in Bulgarian-Romanian relations have been giving rise to expectations that they will evolve to a higher level. Though traditionally the two countries have been wary of each other, in recent years Bulgaria and Romania have deepened their economic relations significantly. Romania is now Bulgaria’s third biggest trade partner within the EU, over the 2003 – 2010 period bilateral trade went up eight times, reaching 3.5 billion euro in 2013. The cooperation between the two countries covers energy connectivity, but also new infrastructure projects – bridges linking the two countries, a new hydro power unit on the Danube, partnership among Danube River municipalities under the Danube Strategy and the Bulgaria-Romania Cross-border Cooperation Programme – plenty of new developments in the relations between the two countries that now take months, whereas once they were a matter of years.
English version: Milena Daynova
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