Greece seeks to strengthen its relations with neighboring countries in order to face threatening and illegal practices that undermine security and stability, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said on Thursday in Sofia, where she is on an official visit.
In a joint press conference with her Bulgarian counterpart Rumen Radev, Sakellaroupoulou also spoke of the collaboration between the two countries “founded on our joint vision for a future of security, peace and prosperity for our countries and the greater region as well. As neighbors, European Union partners, and NATO allies, Greece and Bulgaria constitute a pillar of stability in Southeastern Europe.”
Sakellaropoulou also referred to energy security, the recent start of operation of the Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector (IGB) for natural gas, and the “vertical corridor” of natural gas it will form along with the port of Alexandroupolis’ Floating Storage Regasification Unit under construction.
President Radev said bilateral relations were at a strategic level and play an invaluable role in peace and stability in the Balkans. He also noted that in the last three years, including the pandemic years, “the trade exchanges between the two countries rose by over 1 billion euros to 4. 5 billion euros, proof of the dynamic development” of bilateral relations in all sectors of social and economic life.
Works on energy transfer continue, and both countries complement each other, he said. Greece receives over 30% of its electricity from Bulgaria, as well as over 45% of the cereal exports, while Bulgaria receives a massive part of its exports through the port of Piraeus, Radev noted. He also underlined the connectivity between the city of Thessaloniki to Ruse, via Alexandroupolis and Burgas, which would also distribute raw materials to other countries as well, including Romania and Ukraine, in “an expression of the EU’s joint principle, that is, of solidarity.”
The press conference was followed by a dinner Prime Minister Galab Donev hosted for the visiting Greek president, who later met with Parliament President Vezhdi Rashidov at Bulgaria’s National Assembly building.
Sakellaropoulou is accompanied by Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Andreas Katsaniotis.