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Minister Genchovska: Active cooperation and good-neighbourly relations are of key importance for the South-East European countries

10 June 2022 News

“Active cooperation and good neighbourly relations are of key importance to achieve lasting security, stability and prosperity in the Sourh-East European region, especially in the current circumstances.” This was said by Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodora Genchovska, who is the head of the Bulgarian delegation in the final meetings of the Greek rotating presidency of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) on June 10, 2022 in Thessaloniki - Meeting of Foreign Ministers and Meeting of Heads of State and Government.

Minister Genchovska underlined the key role of the SEECP as a leading political format for building trust and cooperation between the countries in the region. “Bulgaria, as a founding member of the South-East European Cooperation Process, highly appreciates the role of the SEECP, which has become a benchmark for regional cooperation and has proven its sustainability and ability to unite us. The process is unique and works extremely well, following the principles of inclusion, mutual respect and understanding,” she said.

During the forum, the foreign ministers reviewed the development of regional cooperation in the period of the Greek presidency of the SEECP (1 July 2021 - 30 June 2022) and outlined the opportunities for its further development.

Among the main highlights of Minister Genchovska’s speech were the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, the fight against misinformation and media freedom in the region.

“The war in Ukraine is a shocking reality and a turning point for Europe and European security. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has reminded us all that freedom, democracy, the rule of law and human rights cannot be taken for granted. We have all witnessed how these three months have brought dramatic changes and serious new threats and challenges to the region,” said Minister Teodora Genchovska. “That is why we, as participants in the SEECP, must openly and consistently express unequivocal support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine,” she added.

During the meeting, our Foreign Minister stressed the need to enhance energy security, pointing out that the development of transport networks and the modernisation of infrastructure are of particular importance for achieving regional connectivity and sustainable mobility. “Ensuring the effective functioning of green corridors at border crossings during the Covid-19 crisis contributed to the unhindered supply of goods, food and medicine. This proves once again that our vision for the future and building adequate infrastructure must be built on an integrated and collaborative approach,” she added.

The Heads of State adopted the draft Thessaloniki Declaration of the SEECP. Montenegro is going to take over the presidency, and it was discussed and proposed that Skopje will be the chair of the Process after Podgorica. Minister Teodora Genchovska stated Bulgaria’s desire to assume the rotating presidency of the SEECP in the period 2025-2026, when the 30th anniversary of the Process will be celebrated.

The Bulgarian Foreign Minister wished success to the upcoming Montenegrin presidency of the SEECP and expressed confidence in the future development of regional cooperation.

The Republic of Bulgaria initiated the establishment of the South-East European Cooperation Process as a leading political format for dialogue in the region. The initiative was launched at the Sofia meeting of the foreign ministers of the South-East European countries (6-7 July 1996), which adopted the Sofia Declaration on Good-Neighbourly Relations, Stability, Security and Cooperation in the Balkans.

Apart from Bulgaria, the participating countries in the SEECP are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, the Republic of North Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Slovenia, Serbia, Turkey, Croatia, Montenegro and Kosovo.

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