The four of us and our gathering here have always had one goal - to increase the level of connectivity within the European Union and our policy has never been directed against any third party. Our Quartet aims not only to reinforce the EU but also to make it stronger, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said at a briefing at the "Evksinograd" Residence after the end of the quadrilateral summit between Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, and Serbia. The Prime Minister stressed that the policy of the four-country format falls within the values of the EU - connectivity, competitiveness, and income growth.
Prime Minister Borissov underlined energy security and the importance of diversification in this field. According to him, by no coincidence the gas distribution hub is named "Balkan" and added that this project would allow for a wider range of choices and lower prices.
The Prime Minister also welcomed the signing of a joint declaration between Bulgaria and Greece on the development of the Thessaloniki-Kavala-Alexandroupolis-Burgas-Varna-Ruse railway connection. Borissov underlined the significance of transportation "rings" with neighboring countries, which are formed through the construction of highways in Bulgaria.
We believe that with the accession of Serbia into the EU, the Union will become stronger, added the Bulgarian Prime Minister. According to him, after our presidency of the Council of the EU seriously developed the topic about the Western Balkans, the forthcoming Romanian presidency could open new opportunities by adding the topics on the Danube and Black Sea strategies to the European agenda.
Prime Minister Borissov also noted that it is a good idea to discuss the suggestion by his Greek counterpart Tsipras that the four countries jointly apply for the World Cup in 2030, as well as for other sports events.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in turn also emphasized the progress in projects of mutual interest. Along with the railroad connection "Thessaloniki - Kavala - Alexandroupolis - Bourgas - Varna - Ruse", he announced that it has also been agreed to create a highway from Alexandroupolis to the Bulgarian border, from where it can be connected to Sofia, Varna, and Burgas. According to Tsipras, it is also necessary to invest in the region's energy security and highlighted the importance of the interconnector with Bulgaria. The East Med Mediterranean pipeline has also been discussed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"When we started our efforts a year ago, things in the Balkans and in the region did not look so optimistic. Today, the difficulties remain, but we have taken important steps forward," said Tsipras. He emphasized the role of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU for the perspective for the Western Balkans in particular. According to him, the Prespa agreement will have benefits for the development of South East Europe as a whole.
The President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic also drew the attention to energy connectivity and infrastructure projects, which he said are of key importance for the Balkans. This will also be part of the agenda for the next quadrilateral summit in December in Belgrade. "We are grateful to Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and all other countries that support Serbia on its European path," Vucic added.
We agreed to set up a working group to look into the possibilities for building new transport connections across the Danube between Romania and Bulgaria, Romania's Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said. According to her, the project, which is related to the highspeed road between Timisoara and Panchevo, has been considered at the political level. Dancila underlined her country's committment to working for the region's connectivity and prosperity. For Romania, the Cohesion Policy will remain the main investment policy in the EU that will help to overcome the imbalances in the region, said Dancila.
"The Jews have suffered terrible things during the Holocaust. In your countries there are extremely brave men and women who have stood up with their breasts and protected Jewish lives. This is something we will never forget," the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, who was a guest at the quadrilateral meeting, told his colleagues. He added that by generating high technology, Israel works for the common security - many terrorist attacks have been prevented, and with the received assistance many human lives have been saved. "With our partners and friends we discussed bilaterally how to enhance cooperation with Israel. In the general context there are three areas - technology, energy, and security," Netanyahu said. In his speech he referred to the technological revolution in the world, which is observed in every human activity. He pointed out how Israel can help boost energy supplies and also focused on the East Med pipeline.