Joint press statements

Teodor Baconschi - Nikolay Mladenov - Dimitris Droutsas

Ministrul Afacerilor Externe român, Teodor Baconschi: We have had an excellent and consistent discussion, in this already traditional trilateral format between Greece, Bulgaria and Romania. We are celebrating in 2010 15 years of this kind of reunions, both at foreign ministers level and at higher level. 

The discussion of today permitted us to highlight the evolution of this format, from a sub-regional structure designed to support Romania and Bulgaria’s efforts to EU and NATO integration, to the present stage of a voluntary partnership of expertise and joint interests, aimed to promote at EU level our 2 main regional priorities: Western Balkans area and the Black Sea.

All the three of us share the belief that the stability and prosperity of countries in Western Balkans and the Black Sea area that are at very different stages of engagement with EU, is essential for the future of the whole continent. Also, we understand to undertake common actions, designed to give us a better rate of success on this purpose, than act individually.

We have discussed with Minister Mladenov and Minister Droutsas the European perspective of the Western Balkans, the level of concretization of EU’s commitments already included in the Thessaloniki Agenda and the Stabilization and Association Process.

We have expressed our positive judgement on recent developments: visa liberalization for three countries of the Western Balkans (Serbia, FYROM and Montenegro) and the implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreements.

We have stressed, against this positive background, the need for further progress: similar decisions from the EU regarding freedom of movement for Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Commission response to accession applications made by Montenegro, Albania and Serbia, and the need to continue to send to the region clear messages on behalf of the European Institutions and member states for all the countries with notable progress.

We have also underlined the role of regional cooperation structures (South East European Cooperation Process and the Regional Cooperation Council) with the aim to consolidate the climate of cooperation and dialogue.

We have also emphasized our shared interests, our same objectives and priorities in the Black Sea region, because we share both EU and NATO membership. We pledged to promote concrete projects, especially in the field of transportation, infrastructure and energy, within the already existing regional instruments and formats. Also, to forward the EU Black Sea Synergy, through initiatives as Romania’s Partnership for Environment or the Forum of the NGO’s at the Black Sea that support and promote democracy, sustainable development for the whole area.

In the last part of our debate we have tackled this rather fuzzy Post Lisbon European landscape in terms of institutional reforms, there is a vivid debate within member states in Brussels and in all the capitals, regarding the future and the structuring process of the European Service for External Action, the very sensitive topic of the next EU budget and clearly our common concerns about how to face and adopt the best possible anti-crisis policy at EU level and in every member state.

As concrete added value of today’s meeting I shall quote that we have adopted a Joint statement on the Western Balkans, which is spelling out the common engagement of the three Member States to support the European perspective of this area.

We have also agreed with our delegation the text of the letter we will send to the High Representative Catherine Ashton and to the Commissioner of Enlargement, Stefan Füle, on the objectives of the three states in this region, as well as on the activities we propose to be developed by the European Institutions.

Ministrul Afacerilor Externe din Republica Bulgaria, Nikolay Mladenov: 
Thank you. First of all thank you for hosting this meeting. The three of us along with others meet quite often in Brussels and the EU format, NATO format and other useful formats to exchange views on our part of the world, mainly the Balkans and the Black Sea with the countries that are related to this region.

We all share the concern, the responsibility jointly of us as members of the European Union and our partners aspiring to be members of the EU and the Western Balkans to revitalise the date of enlargement towards the Western Balkans. Recently, the Thessaloniki agenda was updated with the landmark date of 2014 to mobilise efforts in the region. We believe very strongly that the reforms are vital to our neighbours so that they can move forward on the European Agenda as well as regional cooperation in solving bilateral issues and having good neighbouring relations as key to this process.

We can speak much about the specific challenges that the Western Balkans face. I think it is a joint commitment of the three countries in the region that are both members of NATO and the EU over the next few months and, obviously, years to advance this Agenda, to work with our neighbours and resolving obstacles to the progress forward, but also to advance the debate inside the European Union. I hope that in Sarajevo in a few days we will be able to reiterate the statement with the support of our other partners in the EU that will be attending the meeting. It will be particularly important for Bosnia and Herzegovina to know its European perspective and this very much continues to be very high in our priority list, as well as other countries in the region that need to move forward.

I would like to say one specifically note on one country, and this is Albania. We’ve seen recently a number of strong political opposition between the parties of government and parties of the opposition and I would like very much personally to welcome the initiative by the chair persons of the European People’s Party and the Party of European Socialists and our good friends in the Socialists Party, because they have tried to reach out to the Albanian governmental opposition to reach agreement in this process. And we urge them to find agreement along the lines of transparency and the constitutional requirements of the political process in Albania. It is important for this to happen before the meeting in Sarajevo. I think this is a very important message to carry to our friends there.

A couple of words regarding the Black Sea, another area where we have great interest in because everything that happens in the Black Sea, one way or another affects us. We discussed very constructively the challenges people face in the Black Sea Cooperation, the council, as well as how to strengthen a number of ideas in priority areas in the EU and the Black Sea Synergy and its relationship with the European Neighbourhood policy.

I think that we all recognised that there is a link between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean region, so there is no need to see this as an alternative, but more as complementary part of our neighbourhood policy and we will continue to work strongly to streamline cooperation and the organisations that we have in terms of the cooperation there, but also focus on very practical projects that can deliver results for the littoral states and in the region.

I hope that we will soon be able to meet in this format as well with our heads of state and heads of government to continue this group of discussions. Thank you”.

Ministrul supleant al Afacerilor Externe din Republica Elenă, Dimitris Droutsas: Thank you very much. I will say only a few words, because I fully agree with all that has already been said. First of all, I want to say a big thank you to Teodor for organizing this meeting and making possible all these fruitful discussions.

As already said, we are celebrating something like an informal anniversary, 15 years of our trilateral meetings between Greece, Bulgaria and Romania. Back in 1995, the Greek foreign minister of the moment, and today’s president of Greece, took this initiative and we had a first meeting and I think that 15 years afterwards we see very tangible results. First of all, all our three countries are members of the European Union and of NATO. In the region I think this is a very important fact and cooperation between our three countries is something that is very important and also with good and fruitful results.

On the topic of the Western Balkans, I think we have all agreed that this was also one of the main points of discussion, also in view of the Sarajevo meeting under the Spanish presidency. We are very happy to see that the Western Balkans and the European Accession Process for the countries of the Western Balkans is again one of the priorities of the European Union and we are also happy to see that the Greek initiative of the Agenda 2014, as we call it, has created a new momentum, this new dynamism, and we are looking very much forward also to the Sarajevo conference, that shall also give, at a EU level, a positive message to the region.

We strongly believe that the future of the Western Balkans lies within the EU, within our European family, we share a common history and common principles and in this part of the Western Balkan countries and the European Union our countries - Romania, Bulgaria and Greece – are the real partners of the Western Balkans and we are ready to cooperate very closely and coordinate positions in this respect.

Black Sea cooperation is another issue discussed, as already said. … It is also a sign that within the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, where Bulgaria has now the presidency then Greece follows, and then Romania will take over. I think it is also an opportunity that in this region our three countries Bulgaria, Romania and Greece can cooperate very closely and coordinate positions. Once again thank you very much for organizing this event, for the hospitality and for these fruitful discussions.

Reporter: Având în vedere situaţia economică prin care trecem cu toţii în aceste zile, aş vrea să vă întreb în ce fel vor fi afectate relaţiile dintre ţările noastre, mai ales relaţiile economice? Sunt foarte mulţi români care vin în Grecia, care îşi petrec acolo concediile – în ce fel vor fi relaţiile noastre afectate şi ce ar trebui să învăţăm din experienţa dumneavoastră economică?

Ministrul supleant al Afacerilor Externe din Republica Elenă,
Dimitris Droutsas: First of all I think that especially when the whole region, and not only our region, but the whole European Union is facing a very severe economic challenge, this means that our cooperation also in economic terms must be strengthened. So I think this is an implication of the economic crisis that we are all facing, that our cooperation, also in economic terms between our countries in the region will be enhanced. Since you mentioned also the area of tourism, that many citizens from Romania are visiting Greece, may I just say (…) that especially this year, this summer we are very much looking forward to an increased number of visitors, both from Romania and Bulgaria and be assured that Greece and the Greek people will openheartedly welcome each visitor to Greece. And we are really looking forward to the visitors from Romania and Bulgaria.  

Journalist: Minister Baconschi, this in a question for you: How important is the result of the meeting today… for the summit in Sarajevo?

Ministrul Afacerilor Externe român, Teodor Baconschi:
We had the opportunity to pre-harmonize our positions and to go there with the same view point of what will be on the agenda of the Sarajevo meeting and on the Spanish presidency.

I think all the actors in the region will be there, which is very important. It’s a very important ministerial reunion and we hope that it will help us get a positive outcome on the European perspective of every country in the region. Thank you. One last question please.

V-aş întreba pe dumneavoastră domnule ministru Baconschi şi îmi pare bine că în România sunt mai multe firme, bănci elene. În ce măsură - şi mă refer aici la aspectul diplomatic şi la discuţiile pe care le-aţi avut cu miniştri de resort - reprezentanţele acestor bănci pot reprezenta un risc din punct de vedere economic pentru România, ţinând cont şi de avertismentul dat la nivel mondial? 

Ministrul Afacerilor Externe român, Teodor Baconschi: Este un exemplu de overstatement. Există o expunere largă în economia românească a băncilor greceşti, dar toată zona Euro a trecut prin turbulenţe pe care, prin decizia politică a jucătorilor mari din UE, le-am depăşit. Ne bucurăm că Grecia şi toate statele din euro-zonă au trecut cu bine peste atacurile speculative şi peste devalorizările artificiale ale Euro. Guvernul elen, ca şi noi, ca şi majoritatea statelor membre adoptă măsuri de austeritate menite să asaneze finanţele publice, să reducă deficitul şi datoria publică.

Privesc cu optimism şi solidaritate capacitatea Greciei de a depăşi acest moment dificil şi cred că, mai ales în acest context, coordonarea politico-diplomatică este esenţială pentru stabilitatea întregii Uniuni Europene. Cât pentru un plus de regularizare pe pieţele financiare, probabil că va fi o chestiune de competenţa viitoarelor reuniuni ale G20.

Vă mulţumim.