NATO heads of government in south-east European countries convened on Monday in Brussels.
Held days after the extraordinary NATO summit in Brussels, the Monday meeting in Sofia of the heads of government of the allied south east European countries, focused on the situation generated by the war in Ukraine. The prime ministers of Romania, Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro assessed the way in which the Russian invasion impacts regional security on the short, medium and long term, as well as ways to consolidate coordination and cooperation in south-eastern Europe. Romanian PM Nicolae Ciuca said on the occasion: “Moscow’s decision to wage war against Ukraine has had a serious impact on the security climate in the Black Sea region and south eastern Europe. We need stronger defence for more effective deterrence and enhanced resilience of society and infrastructure to consolidate security. We took note of the malign Russian influence in the region and have decided to respond by enhancing resilience. This means reducing energy dependency on Russia, combating false narratives, increasing cyber protection and boosting trade between our countries“.
PM Ciuca also said: “We see Russia as the main threat to the security of our region, so we must cooperate effectively in terms of infrastructure and also consolidate cyber defence. “
The European officials also discussed about the troops that will contribute to the setting up, on the Romanian and Bulgarian territories, of two NATO battle groups, as previously decided at the NATO summit, and about securing food supplies in the region, given that Russia and Ukraine are the largest cereal producers and exporters. Also, the four PMs set a meeting of the agriculture ministers in each country, to agree on cooperation policies. At the same time, Ciuca thanked the Bulgarian government for the commitment it made to finalising works on the Bulgarian-Greek pipeline, and emphasised the importance of ensuring the natural gas resources, which are also needed for the production of chemical fertilisers. PM Nicolae Ciuca: “We have received guarantees that all these works will be completed in June, and that the testing process will follow, so that starting this fall we can benefit the supply of liquefied gas, from the terminal in the Greek port of Alexandroupolis. “
In Sofia, PM Nicolae Ciuca reminded that Romania, Bulgaria, Montenegro and North Macedonia have a tradition of regional cooperation, which they will further preserve for a solid approach of security concerns in the region. (EE)