The Balkans hold the potential to become the fastest growing region, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said after his meeting with the Prime Ministers of NATO member states in South East Europe. Mr. Petkov stressed that in a situation of war it is of great importance for the countries in the Balkans to have coordination, to work for cross-border cooperation, economic cohesion and synergy in their defense capabilities. The Prime Minister emphasized the connectivity of the North-South Axis and Corridor 8 that are of key importance not only for economic development but also for mobility in the field of defense. Mr. Petkov also noted the significance of energy independence and the essential role of liquefied natural gas and renewable energy sources.
Regarding the grave geopolitical situation caused by the war in Ukraine, the Bulgarian Prime Minister outlined several key points: food security in the region, the need for solidarity to address the refugee wave and the readiness to help rebuild Ukraine. And not least, the Prime Minister noted the fight against corruption. Often corruption becomes a tool that the Russian Federation employs to exert influence in the region.
Kiril Petkov announced that today 64 fellow countrymen are flying back from Russia on a humanitarian flight. Bulgaria’s Ambassador to the Russian Federation is on board. Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said he expects the Russian side to act in a reciprocal way with regard to the Russian Ambassador to Bulgaria.
Romania’s Prime Minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciukă noted that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine directly affects the security of South East Europe; therefore, cooperation in the region is a must.
The Prime Minister of Montenegro Zdravko Krivokapić expressed his gratitude to the host, the Prime Minister of Bulgaria. We must leave the past behind and think about the future, about development and about policies that will bring a better standard to our citizens, Mr. Krivokapić said further. The Prime Minister of Montenegro specially noted the contribution by the citizens of Romania and Bulgaria who provided assistance to the numerous migrants coming from Ukraine.
The Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia Dimitar Kovacevski said: “This war has created a new reality in all aspects of our lives, especially in terms of the need to coordinate efforts in food production, energy supply and generation as well as in the sector of defense.”