Bucharest has recently hosted the 10th Romania - Bulgaria - Greece trilateral meeting
At the Romania - Bulgaria - Greece trilateral meeting hosted by Bucharest, the Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu held talks with his Bulgarian and Greek counterparts, Ekaterina Zaharieva and Nikos Kotzias respectively, about current issues of strategic relevance at regional level: the Western Balkans, the Eastern Neighborhood, the Black Sea Region, the EU Strategy for the Danube Region and peace prospects for the Middle East.
According to a communiqué issued by the Romanian Foreign Ministry, the dialogue between the three ministers was an opportunity to highlight common objectives and interests and also to reconfirm the three countries' intention to render political dialogue more dynamic as well as their commitment to strengthening the European project.
According to the three officials, cohesions funds are based on the principle of European solidarity. There is no legal connection between the access to European funds and the rule of law, and, if certain conditions are imposed, they must be impartial and applicable to all the EU member countries. This is the common standpoint of the foreign ministers who attended the 10th trilateral meeting. Here is the Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu:
"My first observation would be that criteria must be objective and applicable to all members. Secondly, if such criteria are established, then they must be used to grant certain states higher subsidies, and not to cut the subsidies of others. Therefore, the idea is to award those who perform best."
Romania, Bulgaria and Greece have also drawn attention to the fact that the future EU budget must be balanced and subsidies for agriculture or for cohesion should not be sacrificed. In early May, the European Commission is expected to present the draft budget. Difficult negotiations are also expected, as there will be less money available, because of Brexit. Most likely, according to analysts, the funds normally allocated to the poorer countries will be cut down.
The ministers attending the meeting in Bucharest also spoke in favour of establishing a connection point between the gas supply networks in the Balkans, a hub aimed to improve the security of supply and diversification networks and also the European integration of the countries in the Western Balkans, which are Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo. Kosovo, however, has not been recognized by five EU members, including Romania and Greece. The accession to the EU of the Western Balkan countries, forecast to take place after 2025, depends solely on the efforts these countries will make to meet the necessary criteria, the Brussels authorities have repeatedly stated. (translated by Mihaela Ignatescu)