Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, in joint statements with his Romanian counterpart Viorica Dancila in Bucharest on Friday, noted that his visit was the first official visit by a Greek prime minister to Romania since 2008.
He said that these 11 years “were difficult years for Europe and for Greece, which experienced an economic crisis from which it has now emerged and can today survey the future with more strength and optimism, regaining the important role that it has always had in the region of the Balkans.” He also noted that Greece’s role in the region has always been based on cooperation.
“Romania and Greece are the most economically powerful countries in the southeastern Europe and our cooperation plays a key role for stability and development in the region,” said the Greek prime minister.
Tsipras pointed out that Greece has a substantial presence in Romania’s business life and that, according to the Greek prime minister, Greek entrepreneurship has created 20,000 jobs and accounts for 4.0 billion euros of investments in key sectors of Romania’s economy, such as telecommunications, infrastructure and banking. He said that the aim is to further strengthen this cooperation and also referred to the flow of tourists to Greece, with approximately one million Romanians visiting Greece every year.
“We agreed that in the field of education, we are interested in promoting academic and research cooperation in projects of mutual interest, such as in environmental protection, the management of cultural heritage, tourism development and sustainable energy. We talked about cooperation in digital policy, where there is great potential for joint action,” Tsipras added.
Alexis Tsipras also referred to the regional developments saying that the cooperations between Greece and Romania will further enhance throught the trilateral and quadrilateral forms of cooperation developed by the two sides that contribute to the regional stability and to the Western Balkan countries European prospect.
He underlined that “the Prespes Agreement gives a special dynamic to the Balkans and is a model of cooperation, it proves that through the resolution of the differences, through cooperation at economic and cultural level, we can offer a prospect of peace, stability and economic development in the Balkans.
Tsipras said that both Greece and Romania support North Macedonia’s EU accession prospect but also of all the other countries of the Balkans as Albania’s. They support those countries’ efforts to confront the huge challenges that lie ahead of them in order to be able to meet the accession criteria and their European prospect.
“Europe is at crucial crossroads,” said Tsipras, noting that Greece and Romania and all the countries of the Balkans that are EU member-states should adopt a common stance during the critical deliberations underway to revise the Dublin Treaty, as the first reception countries should not bear the entire burden of the migration and refugee alone, with the principle of solidarity prevailing instead.
Tsipras also referred to the two countries’ close collaboration on connectivity, noting that “we are working hard to support major infrastructures projects in terms of railway links, the road network, telecommunications and energy connectivity.”
“Projects such as the prospect of the interconnection of the Mediterranean with the Black Sea or the Mediterranean corridor of road networks that will pass through the city of Thessaloniki to Skopje and Belgrade.
At a time when developments were rapid, that the energy map is changing and new challenges were appearing, it was important to realise that Greece and Romania can become an important pole of stability, economic cooperation and security, Tsipras said.
Moreover, in the context of the two countries’ quadrilateral cooperation, along with Serbia and Bulgaria, they can form a prospect of growth in the interest of their peoples that might bring multiple benefits, more jobs and an upgrading of the Balkans’ geopolitical potential.
Concluding, Tsipras said that a period of very important prospects opens for the Balkans adding that the Balkans are not more Europe’s mislaid neighbourhood. It should not be a region where are conflicts, confrontations and the imposition of the major forces’ will. He said that it is a region of peace and cooperation where the countries of the Balkans by promoting the need for cooperation and peaceful resolution of their differences will give priority to their people’s interest in order to become that steam engine of Europe’s economic growth.