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Emil Boc at the end of his visit to Sofia : Romania and Bulgaria are not competitors within EU

Romania and Bulgaria are partner states and not competitors within the European Union, Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc on Friday told a press conference he delivered together with his Bulgarian counterpart Boiko Borisov, while referring to joint projects in which the two countries are involved.
'We have so many things that unite us, we have common interests in the EU, we are partners and not competitors within the EU,' said Emil Boc, in Sofia.Among the common problems the two countries must solve, the Romanian Premier noted: Schengen Space accession in 2011, joining the euro, the mechanism for cooperation in justice, cooperation under the Danube Strategy, cooperation within the Eastern Partnership and supporting of the Nabucco project, which Emil Boc underlined it represents a priority for both countries.
Romania and Bulgaria seal memorandum for 262 million euros worth of border programmes, EU financed
The Memorandum for Trans-border Cooperation programme Romania - Bulgaria 2007 - 2013, worth of 262 million euros, has been officially signed on Friday, February 26, in Sofia by Romanian and Bulgarian officials, headed by PMs Emil Boc and Boiko Borisov.

Emil Boc said that, by signing the memorandum of cross-border cooperation, the two countries would have at their disposal 262 million euros, European money for implementation of joint projects. 'We have bad news for our ministers, for they will work very hard from now on, since we have decided to meet regularly, on which occasions we will also check on the activity of the ministries and of their subordinate structures, so that we benefit of this competitive advantage that we have and translate it into practice, through concrete projects for the benefit of both our countries. (...) We will meet often and you will get used to us. We hope we will have concrete results after each meeting,' said Emil Boc.

"We have taken several significant steps for the citizens of the two countries. For example: signing the memorandum means 262 million euros to our disposal; we have adopted the decision to request the ISPA programme extension - over 100 million euros which will be used to our countries' interest; we have discussed on the Calafat-Vidin bridge; cooperation regarding electricity grant and energetic interconnection between the two countries", Emil Boc declared after meeting Bulgarian PM Boiko Borisov.

The Trans-border Cooperation Programme includes seven counties in Romania: Mehedinti, Dolj, Olt, Teleorman, Giurgiu, Calarasi and Constanta, and nine districts from Bulgaria: Vidin, Montana, Vratsa, Pleven, Veliko Tarnovo, Ruse, Razgrad, Silistra, Dobric. For a project to be eligible it needs to be submitted by at least one Romanian partner and one Bulgarian, but no more than one partner in a project whose financial support received from the programme is below one million euro, and no more than ten partners in a project.
Romania and Bulgaria ask EC to extend ISPA programme to finish projects worth 100 million euros
Romanian and Bulgarian governments have adopted a joint declaration on Friday, February 26, in Sofia to extend the eligibility deadline for all Romanian and Bulgarian projects financed through the ex-ISPA programme until 31.12.2011. According to the information coming from the Government, Romania still has 650,000 euros to spend from the total sum of 2 billion euros, funds allocated through ISPA.Through this declaration, the two states launch an appeal for the European Commission to offer the chance of extending the eligibility deadline for spending on major projects approved in 2000-2006, projects of over 100 million euros. "The projects that used the cohesion fund, approved during 2000-2006 for all states that benefited from this fund, could enjoy the same chance of deadline extension", the declaration mentions.
Giurgiu-Ruse Bridge crossing fee could be cancelled
The Romanian and Bulgarian governments are analysing the possibility of cancelling the car fee drivers pay when they cross the Giurgiu-Ruse Bridge over the Danube, Romanian news agency Mediafax informs. The two PMs discussed the possibility of cutting the tax on Friday, February 26 2010, in Sofia. The proposal is to be analysed by the resort ministers from the two south-east European states. "We have discussed the issue of cancelling the tax for cars crossing the bridge to Ruse and to repair the bridge so that, by the time the Vidin-Calafat bridge is completed, this is functional", Bulgarian PM Boiko Borisov declared after his meeting with Emil Boc. The Bulgarian prime-Minister indicated that there are nine bridges over the Danube, while between Romania and Bulgaria there is just one, and in "not such a good state". Many Bulgarian MEPs stated last year that the fee charged on crossing the bridge over the Danube breeches the European norms and the free travel principle. They have requested for the fee to be cancelled, indicating that if this doesn't happen, the matter might end up on the desk of the European Court of Justice.
Diplomatic cooperation between Romania and Bulgaria
Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Baconschi and his Bulgarian counterpart Nikolai Mladenov have convened on Friday, during a bilateral meeting, the intensification of the political dialogue at top and technical level and the encouragement of the economic cooperation, with accent on the fields of transport, infrastructure, energy and cross-border cooperation between the two states. According to a release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE), within the Friday meeting, occasioned by the official visit Premier Emil Boc is paying to the Republic of Bulgaria, the two ministers examined the bilateral cooperation stage between the two countries.

As for the European agenda, the Romanian minister pointed out that Romania and Bulgaria, as European Union neighboring and partner countries have specific convergent interest, which can be promoted via joint projects to the benefit of both countries, of the EU and the region.As well, other current items on the European agenda were approached, of joint interest for both sides, as the European External Action Service, 2020 Agenda.

Teodor Baconschi underlined the importance of coordination of the efforts in joint interest files, as the accession to the Schengen Space and to the euro zone, fulfillment of conditions within the Mechanism of Cooperation and Verification, the EU Danube Strategy, support for the Republic of Moldova efforts towards the European integration, as well as for the West Balkan states, support for the Eastern Partnership and a more visible role for the Black Sea region on the EU agenda, including through the promotion of the Black Sea Synergy.

The two foreign ministers made an exchange of views on Romania's decision to accept the invitation addressed by the United States of America, namely that Romania takes part in the development of the American anti-missile defense system and established that the two sides inform each other during some bilateral consultations on the Euro-Atlantic security issues. Baconschi said the United States will deploy about 20 antiballistic missile interceptors on Romanian soil and negotiations regarding the proper missile interceptor locations are likely to take one and a half years.

The officials also approached evolutions of interest on the regional and international agendas, as those in West Balkans, Eastern neighborhood and international security.The Romanian Minister also emphasized the importance of educational and cultural projects aimed at strengthening the cultural ties between the Romanian and Bulgarian peoples. Teodor Baconschi is the first foreign minister received by Mladenov since he took over the ForMin office, Agerpres informs.

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