Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is due in the Bulgarian capital Sofia on Monday in order to attend the Greek-Bulgarian High-Level Cooperation Council.
The prime minister, who will be arriving at the head of a government delegation, will have meeting with his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov and Bulgaria’s President Rosen Plevneliev. There will also be meetings between Greek ministers accompanying the premier and their Bulgarian counterparts, on the sidelines of the Cooperation Council, after which a series of bilateral agreements are to be signed.
The delegation arriving with the premier will include: Economy, Development and Tourism Minister George Stathakis, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, Labour, Social Insurance and Social Solidarity Minister George Katrougalos, Energy and Environment Minister Panos Skourletis, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Christos Spirtzis, Alternate Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas, Alternate Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Toskas, Deputy Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Marina Chrysoveloni.
The prime minister’s visit is to focus on four main areas of cooperation: energy, politics and diplomacy, defence cooperation, and also economic and infrastructure development. Government sources said that the visit to Bulgaria marks the launch of a series of contacts focusing on the Balkans, Arab countries and Persian Gulf.
Noting that Bulgaria was now one of Greece’s closest and most reliable partners in the Balkans, the sources said that Bulgaria was also an important partner for the energy planning of the United States and European Union, especially through the TransAdriatic Pipeline (TAP) and Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) pipeline projects involving Greece and in connection with the planned Alexandroupolis Liquified Natural Gas station.
On a political and diplomatic level, the aim of the prime minister’s visit is to upgrade political dialogue with Bulgaria, especially on cooperation issues, developments in the Black Sea and relations with Russia.
On the economic and infrastructure levels, areas of mutual interest are cross-border cooperation in transport, including a rail link to connect the Black Sea with the Aegean in Alexandroupolis that bypasses the Turkish straits and opens up prospects for trade with Russia. The two sides will also sign agreements on tourism and discuss management of the Evros River waters.
In defence cooperation, following a visit last week by Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, the focus will be on transferring expertise to help modernise the Bulgarian armed forces and defence industry.
The prime minister’s complete itinerary during the visit is as follows:
10:00 PM and government delegation arrive in Sofia
10:30 Tsipras and Borisov have one-on-one meeting
10:30 – 11:30 Bilateral meetings between Greek and Bulgarian ministers
11:30 High-Level Cooperation Council session begins
12:40 Bilateral agreements are signed
13:00 Joint statements by Tsipras and Borisov
13:30 Working lunch for the two government delegations
15:15 Tsipras meets Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev