Presidents of Bulgaria, Austria, Romania Call for United Europe of Solidarity

Presidents Rumen Radev of Bulgaria, Alexander Van der Bellen of Austria and Klaus Iohannis of Romania called for a united Europe of solidarity at an informal meeting on the future of united Europe in Rousse on Friday. 

Austria and Romania will follow Bulgaria holding the rotating EU Presidency in the second half of 2018 and the first half of 2019.

President Radev told a news conference after the meeting that he held fruitful and constructive talks with his counterparts. The EU is faced with many economic, political, military and cultural challenges, he said. 

"We asked many questions: Where is Europe heading for? Do we stand up for our security sufficiently? What is the future of the Western Balkans? Are we ready to act and neutralize terror attacks? In this complicated environment we can be successful if we have clear priorities and a long-term vision."

President Iohannis said the three heads of State want a united Europe of solidarity. He said they discussed important matters: the EU's future, the Multiannual Financial Framework, Brexit, and regional cooperation.

President Van der Bellen said the matters which should be discussed, including European security and the Multiannual Financial Framework, and are very similar for the three countries. The EU is a powerful economic factor, but its voice as a political factor should strengthen. He also said that Austria and Bulgaria are convinced advocates for the States and people of the Western Balkans on their way to a united Europe. It is clear that candidate countries must continue to face important challenges for progress towards the EU, the Austrian President said. 

Speaking at a conference on the sustainable development of the Danube Region, President Radev said he believes that Austria, Bulgaria and Romania will be a motive force for the development of what he called "the Danube idea". He participated jointly with Presidents Van der Bellen and Iohannis. Radev added that the three countries need to work "to re-focus Europe's attention on the Danube region"

The three Presidents called for stepping up work on the Danube Strategy.
Iohannis said that connectivity on the Danube is a far cry from what people want to see and from the existing potential. He said it is a time to revise the Danube Region Strategy and make it more visible for the citizens. 

Van der Bellen said the Danube is an economic resource which has to be put to better use for transport and tourism. 

Radev told a joint news conference that seven years after the Danube Strategy was adopted, it could not be said that significant progress had been made. He noted that there were no allocated resources and clear rules.



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