"From the first days, when the service cabinet started working, what the president wanted from me in the engineering infrastructure and assigned it to me was: Bulgaria and Europe. We cannot enter Europe without having a road to Europe. We didn't have any." This was stated by the Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Arch. Ivan Shishkov in the bTV program "Why, Mr. Minister?"
"Bulgaria's path to Europe goes through the roads to Europe," he said and explained that everything that is being done in the field of infrastructure is aimed at connecting Bulgaria with Europe and gave the example of the work on the completion of the Struma highway. The regional minister expects that in August the strengthening of the landslide before the "Railway" tunnel will be completed and the traffic will be allowed in one direction, and by the end of the year this part of the route must be ready in both directions.
He explained again that the first sod has been made for the completion of the planned road intersection in the part of the route passing through the Kresna gorge, in order to save the EIA procedure and not to delay the construction of the road for another 4 years. "This does not pre-determine the route," was categorical arch. Shishkov recalled that the section had been neglected, and in years past infrastructure objects were more talk in TV studios than real actions. "The cabinet has neither decided on a route, nor is it holding on to a specific option for a route. The official cabinet insists on one thing – that we don't waste time so that the next regular cabinet can continue and finish AM "Struma" as it should be. And the Bulgarian citizens should have a clear horizon that it will continue to be built, summarized the regional minister.
"The attitude towards the European connectivity of Bulgaria is extremely important, and this, in my opinion, was the biggest problem that was ignored years ago", noted Arch. Shishkov. He pointed out that the construction and construction of infrastructure is part of the geopolitical development of a country. And he made it clear that everything the official cabinet did was in favor of Bulgaria and Bulgarian integration in Europe. And he gave an example precisely with the "Struma" highway. He explained that there is a need to hurry with this autobahn, because if we don't build the entire "Struma" and if we don't build the tunnel under Petrokhan, because this is the connection between Vidin and Kulata, that is, Greece, then in the end all the cargo, all the traffic will bypass Bulgaria - from Greece it will pass through North Macedonia and Serbia. "Is this what we want, is this the European integration of Bulgaria?" he asked.
He commented that during his administration, the official cabinet managed to do extremely important and good things for Bulgaria in terms of infrastructural objects and highlighted first of all the commissioning of the interconnector. "We woke up all the highways, we left over 30 km of operational roads, I approved over 100 km of detailed development plans for new highways, we started not only talking, but also started procedures to build new highways in Bulgaria, we gave heart and soul during these 10 month and the feeling is of extreme satisfaction", commented the minister.
Ivan Shishkov categorically and indignantly rejected all the speculations of the last days, which are attributed to the official cabinet and the president - that they are the Fifth Column, that they are Russophiles and protect the interests of a foreign country. "Let's be clear on this occasion - the first thing the official cabinet did was stop Bulgaria's dependence and disconnect it from Russian gas. Something that the governments before ours didn't do during their management mandates," he stated and reiterated that it was Radev's office that put the interconnector into operation. He recalled that the project was quite delayed in time.
"A political force that built "Balkan Stream" is practically now sitting comfortably watching the president being accused of being a Russophile. And since, in addition to the entire office, I, as a regional minister, made a huge effort for this interconnector, and I feel personally affected by such accusations, which are based on absolutely no facts," said Arch. Shishkov.
The regional minister emphasized again that this European connectivity of our roads should be made not only for the sake of our regions, but also for Bulgaria to be an equal member of Europe. As a project of extremely important importance in this direction, he indicated the road from Ruse to Makaza, which no one has talked about so far. Detailed development plans for this axis have already been approved and construction is about to begin, so the horizon is open.
After a question, the minister also commented on the upcoming local elections, stating that he was surprised and flattered by the rumors that he would be elected mayor of Sofia. "I take it as an assessment of my work in the office, but to that moment I do not think in this direction, I treat such rumors with a smile," said Arch. Shishkov. However, he specified that he did not have an offer for a new job and shared that he is an architect and works in his profession with great pleasure. "It is no less a pleasure to work as a minister, but only when certain things are done for the country, and I personally did them from my heart and soul."
Asked what he will take with him when leaving the ministry, he said: "The good memories, the great pleasure that we were able to do extremely important things for Bulgaria. We managed to "wake up" all the highways, to the point that they are currently under construction from end to end. We have also started the necessary procedures for construction, so things are already being done according to a legal mechanism. So, for those 10 months that I worked, I say most responsibly - both I and all my colleagues in the office gave ourselves to the end. Because the pleasure of what is done and the fact that you work for the state is the best. I hope others can experience this feeling deep inside themselves.''
Finally, he announced that he would leave to the future minister as an urgent task the completion of the "Struma" highway to the checkpoint, and it is precisely there that he sees an attitude towards Europe. The highway and the entire engineering structure were previously neglected and no thought was given in this direction. "As a very important part of the legacy, it is also a part of my heart and soul that I am leaving," the regional minister also shared. Besides everything arch. Shishkov expressed hope and confidence that his successor Andrey Tsekov will continue what has been done so far and maintain the speed of work that has already been set. And from his side, the future minister can only expect a partnership, added the acting regional minister.