"We held a truly Balkan Presidency, we did not manifest selfishness, and we gave every country in the Balkans the opportunity to present itself at its best before the 28 member states," said Prime Minister Boyko Borissov at a press conference in Thessaloniki where he took part in the High Level Cooperation Council among Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, and Romania. Emphasizing the results of the outgoing EU Council Presidency, which concluded just a few days ago, the Prime Minister noted that European leaders are pleased that Bulgaria did not separate the Western Balkans from the rest of the Balkans, when formulating its priority.
The Bulgarian Prime Minister stressed on the infrastructure and transport connectivity of the region, as well as the importance of targeted work for increasing the well-being of its residents. "This is the real Balkan competition," added Prime Minister Borissov. According to him, alongside with the development of railroad and sea and river transport systems, the import of cargo through the ports should be facilitated. The Prime Minister put a special focus on interconnectors, the European gas hub "Balkan", and the benefits of the construction of a second bridge over the Danube at Rousse. "We need friendship, compromise and understanding to make everyone in the region conceited," Prime Minister Borissov said.
Serbian President Aleksander Vucic also underlined the importance of connectivity in the region. He highlighted that Serbia is at the final stage of the construction of a highway to the border with Bulgaria and welcomes the idea of a common electronic system for charging vehicles using national road networks.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras pointed out that in one year the format Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Serbia has achieved a lot on the Balkans. Tsipras mentioned the example of the achieved progress in respect to the European perspective for the Western Balkans and the provision of a clear time horizon for starting pre-accession talks with Albania and the Republic of Macedonia. He welcomed Bulgaria's efforts over the past six months for the region. "It was a creative period for the Balkans and now a new, even more positive cycle, is to be unlocked," the Greek Prime Minister said.
"This quadrilateral format has proven able to cope with the challenges in our region," said Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila. She welcomed the results of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU and defined it as extremely successful. "As a country to take over the Council Presidency in early 2019, Romania will continue to support the region's priorities," Dancila said.
The leaders of Bulgaria, Greece and Romania reaffirmed their full support for Serbia's accession to the European Union upon fulfillment of the required membership criteria.