• Bulgarian President Plevneliev: Bulgaria Supports Ukraine’s European Future

    Sofia, June 30 (BTA) – President Rosen Plevneliev once again confirmed Bulgaria’s categorical support for Ukraine’s European future, speaking at a joint news conference here on Thursday with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko, who arrived on a one-day official visit.

    Plevneliev noted that European integration is one of the main stimuli for positive reforms and change. The EU is a project for peace, for human and economic development of the nations, a project for cooperation between the peoples, he said.

    Regardless if it is with or without Britain, there is a need for a stronger EU, for strong nation states. Bulgaria is strong because of the EU and within the EU, Plevneliev also said, adding that this is why this country will continue to support EU integration. “I believe in it and will work so that the EU, with or without the United Kingdom, continues what it had been doing until now, and do it even more efficiently and tangibly, and proves the need for this unique project for peace. Without the EU and without the EU’s partnership with Ukraine, this peace will not be guaranteed in the way we would like to see it in every corner in Europe,” the Bulgarian President said. According to him, the EU will continue extending its hand to Ukraine and the integration process will intensify. The EU is a unique project, which must display its power and that requires much closer cooperation and integration with Ukraine, he noted.

    Ukraine’s President Poroshenko said that his country wants a strong and united Europe, which shows solidarity with Ukraine. He said that he is not among the politicians who view the so called Brexit as a destructive phenomenon. According to him, the EU will become more mobilized and stronger after the Brexit, and will find a decent reply to the populists’s arguments. He noted the need to overcome Eurosceptic attitudes, because only a united Europe can be strong. He explained that nothing threatens Ukraine’s European aspirations, adding that his country has already gone through a crucial moment on its path towards the EU and no Brexit can stop it.

    Three bilateral documents were signed in Plevneliev’s and Poroshenko’s presence – an intergovernmental agreement for cooperation in disaster response; memorandum between the sports ministries of Bulgaria and Ukraine for youth cooperation; an agreement between the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the State Space Agency of Ukraine for cooperation within the framework of the space experiment Ionosat Micro on board the Microsat-M spacecraft.

    Prime Minister Boyko Borissov also conferred with the visiting Ukrainian head of State. Bulgaria has always upheld the idea that when a country is presented with formulated criteria as a condition for achieving specific goals, and that country fulfills those criteria, then it must be able to take advantage of the rights it is entitled to. Bulgaria will support the introduction of a visa-free regime for Ukrainian citizens travelling to the EU, because Ukraine has already met the conditions, said Borissov during his meeting with Poroshenko, quoted by Cabinet’s press service.

    The Prime Minister expressed Bulgaria’s support for Ukraine’s political association and economic integration with the EU. Bulgaria can provide expert assistance to Ukraine in this process, he added.

    Borissov stressed the need to completely fulfill the Minsk agreements, so that the situation in Ukraine could be brought back to normal and bilateral trade and economic relations can be restored to their usual levels, along with those between the EU and Russia. The mutually imposed sanctions between the EU and Russia and the situation in Ukraine have a negative impact on business contacts between Bulgaria and Ukraine, which has led to a significant decrease in trade in recent years, the Prime Minister noted. According to him, restoring the intergovernmental commission for trade and economic cooperation, which has not been in session since 2010, would help solve the existing problems and return the good traditions of partnership between business organizations in the two countries.

    Later on Thursday, the presidents of Bulgaria and Ukraine unveiled a monument to Ukrainian poet and writer Taras Shevchenko at Vuzrazhdane Square in Sofia, the Bulgarian head of State’s press secretariat reported. Poroshenko expressed gratitude for the implementation of the project in the Bulgarian capital. In his words, the monument embodies the image of young and energetic Ukraine, which today walks down the path of Europe.