Regional cooperation, European integration of the Western Balkans and challenges facing Southeast Europe were high on the agenda of a meeting of the foreign ministers of the countries of the region, the Foreign Ministry in Sofia said on Tuesday.

The meeting, held in the town of Pravets some 80 km east of Sofia, has brought together the foreign ministers of the countries taking part in the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP).

The event was part of the concluding events of the six-month Bulgarian chairmanship of the SEECP which will end on June 30 with a meeting of heads of state and government of the participating countries, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. 

On Tuesday, Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov highlighted the three priority areas of the Bulgarian chairmanship of the SEECP –  energy and transport connectivity; dealing with the migrant inflow; media freedom and freedom of expression, according to the statement.

The adoption of a joint statement to address the challenges posed by migratory pressure was part of those efforts, Mitov added.

Daniel Mitov also noted that Bulgaria supported the expansion of cooperation with European institutions and other international organizations and attaches high importance to attracting European funds to the region.

Bulgaria believes that membership of the European Union is the only perspective

“Our country sees no perspective for the Western Balkans other than EU membership,” Mitov said, according to the statement.

At the annual board meeting of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), Daniel Mitov and RCC Secretary General, Goran Svilanovic, confirmed their high estimate of the collaboration of the Bulgarian chairmanship of the SEECP and the RCC.

The Bulgarian foreign minister stressed on the importance of parliamentary cooperation within the SEECP and presented Sofia’s candidacy for the seat of the Permanent Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly as a significant development in the context of the Western Balkans’ European integration process.

Goran Svilanovic focused on efforts to implement the Strategy SEE 2020, which aims to improve the living conditions in the countries in South-East Europe.

Daniel Mitov and Goran Svilanovic agreed that political stability, improved infrastructure and energy connectivity, independence of judicial systems and combating corruption in the countries of South-East Europe were essential for attracting fresh investments to the region.

 

 

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