The Bulgarian state is actively working to include Corridor 8 in the priority European transport network. The direction Sofia - Skopje - Tirana - Durres should be defined as part of the European corridor "Western Balkans". This was stated by Prime Minister Galab Donev during the ceremony marking the start of the construction of the Eastern part of the railway Corridor 8, section Kumanovo - Belyakovce - Kriva Palanka.
The Prime Minister expressed confidence that the topic of building the corridor is a priority for our country as well as for all countries along the route, which is an important communication channel and a key link between citizens and businesses from Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Albania.
Prime Minister Galab Donev pointed out that the railway project, which is one of the many dimensions of Corridor 8, can have a great added value for the development of the entire region. Moreover, according to Prime Minister Donev, the accelerated construction of Corridor 8, connecting three allied countries in NATO, is a matter of national and collective security. The Prime Minister pointed out that the consequences of the war in Ukraine have revealed once again one of the most vulnerable places of our region, namely - the underdeveloped and even missing infrastructure. Donev recalled that due to the lack of connecting railway and energy infrastructure, our countries are forced to look for alternative supply routes passing through third countries, which further increases the price and prolongs the delivery time of the resources we all need.
"In the conditions of a potential energy and food crisis, it is vitally necessary to provide direct routes for supplies," said Prime Minister Galab Donev. In this context, he emphasized the upcoming conclusion of an agreement between the gas transmission operators of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of North Macedonia for interconnection for the Kyustendil-Zhidilovo point. According to the Bulgarian Prime Minister, this will ensure the diversification and increase of the security of natural gas supplies to North Macedonia and will contribute to deepening our cooperation in the energy sphere.
In his speech, Prime Minister Galab Donev also drew attention to the level of trade between Bulgaria and the Republic of North Macedonia, which for the first time in our bilateral relations is expected to reach nearly 1 billion euros at the end of the year. "Imagine what the result would be if there was a developed infrastructure between Bulgaria and North Macedonia", noted the Prime Minister, adding that similar positive prospects would be created for Albania with better connectivity.
Prime Minister Galab Donev also pointed out that today's event near Kumanovo is an example that both countries should follow in the future. According to him, it is important to meet the expectations of businesses and citizens for better communication through the construction of strategic projects in all dimensions of Corridor 8, an important place of which is occupied by the railway connection Sofia-Skopje.
In response to a question from a journalist from the Republic of North Macedonia, Prime Minister Gulab Donev called for common ground to be found between the people on both sides of the border, regardless of the fact that sometimes politicians distort the agenda of societies in Bulgaria and North Macedonia. "Political confrontation and controversy must be stopped," Donev said and pointed out that erecting walls that prevent people from empathizing with each other is not on the citizens' agenda. On the subject of the inclusion of Bulgarians in the Constitution of the Republic of North Macedonia, Prime Minister Donev recalled that this was a commitment not only to Bulgaria, but also to all other EU member states. The Bulgarian Prime Minister noted that EU membership is a long and complex process, but the result is a better life for the citizens of the country that becomes a member of the European family.
In response to a question from a representative of the Bulgarian media regarding the upcoming opening of a club in Blagoevgrad, Prime Minister Galab Donev stated that it is an organization that is not registered under the laws in Bulgaria and has dubious messages. The Prime Minister pointed out that the right to free association is observed in our country, but he also added that it will be monitored whether this club advocates ideas that contradict the laws in Bulgaria. Prime Minister Galab Donev was adamant that state institutions can guarantee real cultural cooperation.
As part of his visit to the Republic of North Macedonia, Prime Minister Galab Donev also held a bilateral meeting with his colleague Dimitar Kovachevski, at which topics of mutual interest were discussed.