BTA News

Prime Minister Denkov, French President Macron Confer in Paris

Our meeting affirms the strong partnership between France and Bulgaria in key areas such as energy, security, defence, trade, culture and agriculture, Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov said in Paris, emerging from a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.

“The motto of our country is “Unity Makes Strength”, which in today’s dynamic world seems more important than ever. The Bulgarian Government and the parliamentary majority in Bulgaria will continue to support Ukraine and its people, both through national efforts and through international forms of cooperation, EU and NATO structures, for as long as necessary,” he added.

The Prime Minister thanked for the support and for the positive assessment of the development of relations with France, and “of our efforts to develop Bulgaria and bilateral relations with your country.”.

“As members of EU and NATO, our cooperation not only strengthens and guarantees the security of our two economies and societies, but also of Europe as a whole,” the Bulgarian Prime Minister said.

Bulgaria has already met the 2% of GDP target for defence spending and continues to strengthen its capabilities and the interoperability of NATO’s important eastern flank, Denkov said. In his words, Bulgaria’s European and transatlantic path is irreversible. The country is preparing to join the Eurozone on January 1 2025. And once Bulgaria joins the Schengen area by air next month, the government will work to reach an agreement with Austria on land borders before the end of this year.

Denkov said that Bulgaria’s accession to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is also a very important goal. Bulgaria is grateful for France’s full support. By going through these steps, Bulgaria will become an even stronger partner, actively contributing to the EU’s strategic objectives, Denkov said. In his words, in this context Bulgaria will continue to support the European path of its neighbours while insisting on the fulfilment of the clear and objective criteria of the EU for integration.

“And while Bulgaria remains firmly committed to Europe’s sustainable future, we must ensure the green transition is implemented in a fair way for our economies, our citizens and our national security,” Prime Minister Denkov said. He underlined that after Wednesday’s talks he is confident that the two countries will be able to develop their cooperation for the implementation of our common goals and objectives.

French President Macron told a news briefing that there are many areas in which France and Bulgaria are becoming closer and which are at the heart of the European project, such as European security and defence, nuclear energy, and strengthening European integration.

“As far as Ukraine is concerned, both countries are acting together with our European partners,” Macron noted, pointing out that the EU has agreed on allocating EUR 50 billion to support Ukraine, but also on providing support through military equipment and defence support, such as training Ukrainian military, or adapting sanctions against Russia, as well as keeping pressure on the Russian military machine.

“I am aware of the courage of the Bulgarian authorities since the beginning of the conflict to change the paradigm in their relations with Russia. On this basis, our countries should work to strengthen the security and defence of the continent,” he added. The EU must play a more important role in its own security, strengthening its ability to defend itself, Macron said.

This also goes through strengthening our operational cooperation and our industrial capacity to buy together and produce together military equipment, such as the most critical items, he added.
Of the second pillar in bilateral relationships – nuclear energy, the French president recalled that nuclear energy is at the heart of the decarbonization of the continent. Macron stressed that there is no sustainable decarbonization without a strategy running through renewable and nuclear energy. He added that in both Bulgaria and France, nuclear energy guarantees energy security and achieving decarbonization targets. Macron highlighted the cooperation between France and Bulgaria at European level in this respect and expressed his wish to deepen the bilateral cooperation in the field of nuclear energy.

Of Bulgaria’s progress in the area of European integration, Macron said that on this basis the two countries should now get down to reforming the EU in order to build a bigger, more sovereign, more united union.

Prime Minister Denkov is on a one-day visit to Paris to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron. On the agenda are Bulgaria’s foreign policy priorities – full integration into Schengen, the adoption of the single European currency and accession to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.