Bulgarian president calls for boosting development of Danube region
The dynamic development of the Danube region is a very important factor for the entire European Union (EU), Radev said at a joint press conference after the informal meeting of the three leaders in the town of Ruse.
For centuries, the Danube has been connecting the countries along its upper, middle and lower valleys. Along the Danube are located some of the most developed but also the least developed areas of the EU, Radev said.
These imbalances should be addressed by effective coordination and efforts at European level, Radev said.
Iohannis recalled that the European Council endorsed an EU strategy for the Danube region in 2011.
It started with great optimism, and some of its goals were fulfilled, but others remained only intentions, Iohannis said, adding that that the potential of the region should be utilized.
Van der Bellen said in turn that his country, Bulgaria and Romania share similar goals and face a number of common challenges.
He also said that during the period from 2020 to 2025, practical steps towards the EU accession of the Western Balkan countries could be made.
Danube, the second longest river in Europe, passes through 10 countries including Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and Ukraine. ■