Prime ministers Boyko Borissov of Bulgaria and Mihai Tudose of Romania Tuesday opened a new border crossing between the villages of Kajnardzha and Lipnitsa in the eastern part of the Bulgarian-Romanian border.
A Kajnardzha-Lipnitsa cross-border road worth over 6 million euro has been constructed under the Bulgaria-Romania Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013.
At the opening, Tudose said that this day was very important because it marked a significant moment for the bilateral ties and was the result of many efforts by the two countries. "The more border checkpoints are opened, the easier it becomes for the population, the business, and tourism on both sides of the border, and the more we get to know each other," Borissov said.
Also attending the ceremony were the two countries' interior ministers, Valentin Radev and Carmen Dan.
The decision to open a border checkpoint at Kajnardzha follows up on a Bulgarian-Romanian agreement from 2012. According to a European Parliament regulation, Bulgaria and Romania are to set up joint border control at the joint border, as crossing people and vehicles are stopped for a check only once. A bilateral agreement on joint border control has been in effect since 2007. By this agreement, the checkpoint with all requisite facilities will be built on Romanian territory.
Later on Tuesday, a joint meeting of the Bulgarian and Romanian governments at the Euxinograd residence in Varna (on the Black Sea) focused on topics of bilateral interest in the sphere of economy and infrastructure, the Government Information Service said.
Prime Minister Borissov noted that the traffic between Bulgaria and Romania will become easier and increase through the construction of bridges, including a second bridge between Rousse and Giurgiu, working ferry connections, new border checkpoints, and improvement of the navigation conditions along the Danube. He added that the further development of Pan-European Corridor IV, VII, and X is a prerequisite for the achievement of infrastructural connectedness, including with the Western Balkan countries. In his words, this is of significant importance for competitiveness and growth.
The Bulgarian PM put an emphasis on the serious work done on the diversification of the energy supplies along not only the North-South axis but also the horizontal energy connections. He described as a key element the construction of the Balkan Gas Hub.
Borissov also talked about the EU's internal security through strengthening its external borders, and underscored the importance of Bulgaria's and Romania's quick entry in the Schengen area. The PM noted the significance of Balkan cooperation within the EU as well as the EU prospects for the countries in this region.
Romanian Prime Minister Tudose described the meeting in Varna as very beneficial and said it would remain in the two countries' history. He expressed readiness for the regular bilateral contacts to continue.
The two delegations adopted a joint declaration on the main topics covered during the plenary sitting.
On the sidelines of the joint meeting, the two sides held bilateral meetings on ministerial level and a number of documents were signed.
Bulgaria, Romania to cooperate in social policy
Bulgarian Social Policy Minister Bisser Petkov and his Romanian counterpart, Lia Olguta Vasilescu, signed a declaration of cooperation in social policy. The document declares the will and readiness of the two sides for joint action in exchange of information and experience in the field of youth employment, labour mobility, child protection policies, health and safety at work, gender equality and fight against domestic violence.
The two countries will exchange good practices and measures against undeclared labour. Cooperation will include joint inspections of the Bulgarian and Romanian employment inspectorates. The document also provides for joint action of the two countries' employment agencies, as well as for exchange of experience in the field of social inclusion.