By Clive Leviev – Sawyer of The Sofia Globe
Meeting in Sofia on October 14, Croatian president Ivo Josipović and his Bulgarian host, head of state Rossen Plevneliev, said that the two countries would encourage their private sectors to co-operate more actively to carry out joint projects.
Josipović was received in the Bulgarian capital at the start of a two-day visit that will include the holding of a business forum.
“We have agreed to hold a meeting of the joint commission on economic co-operation between Bulgaria and Croatia very soon in order to discuss the good prospects and projects ahead of us,” Plevneliev said at a news briefing after talks with Josipović .
Companies from both countries will receive updated information on investment opportunities, Plevneliev said.
Croatia’s accession to the European Union opens up new opportunities for further co-operation with Bulgaria, will strengthen the voice of the countries of South Eastern Europe and is a positive step in the promotion of the principles of the EU in the region, the two presidents agreed.
The two presidents also discussed connectivity and integration.
The two sides will continue to actively support the implementation of all projects that contribute to the connectivity and integration of the region. Construction of high-speed rail network in South Eastern Europe and the improvement of road infrastructure were among the highlights of the conversation between the two presidents.
“Energy liberalisation and diversification can provide competitive prices for individuals and businesses in the region,” Plevneliev said.
He said that this would create new economic prospects for all the Balkan countries and would encourage foreign investors to opt for South Eastern Europe for the implementation of their investment projects and the opening of new production facilities.
“The transfer of energy through interconnectors connecting between transmission systems will ensure access to liquefied natural gas terminal on the island of Krk, as well as deposits in the Caucasus. This will create the necessary security for the supply of the region,” he said.
“We are absolutely certain also that the two countries will make an effort for connectivity. Corridor No 10 – a big priority for both countries. The Danube Strategy which gives an opportunity for joint projects between 2014 and 2020, the project called On the Road of Roman Emperors, about which the respective ministries have signed a co-operation agreement. These are just specific examples and we will expects results there,” Plevneliev said.
Bulgaria and Croatia share the view that the EU Cohesion policy is a factor for accelerating growth, a statement after the meeting said.
“We cannot ignore the fact that Bulgaria and Croatia are one step backward in economic development compared to other (EU) member states. The Union has sufficient mechanisms to eliminate these differences and to assist countries that are backward reach the general level,” Josipović said.
Croatia will comply with the European Union’s refugee policy completely, Josipović said after being asked whether Croatia was ready to receive Syrian refugees.
“You can be sure that due to its history Croatia is ready to receive these people, these refugees. We have enough sensitivity towards their suffering. They are fleeing really bad things and we are ready to help them. Croatia followed and will follow the EU policy completely. We are ready to do this and give the necessary help according to the EU requirements,” Josipović said.