PM Borissov: Italy is important partner to Bulgaria

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov on Thursday conferred with his Italian counterpart, Giuseppe Conte, who is on an official visit to Bulgaria at the invitation of Borissov, the Government Information Service said.

“Italy is an important partner to Bulgaria in the EU and an ally in NATO. We have excellent bilateral relations, for the advancement of which we continue an active political dialogue at all levels, as well as cooperation on issues of common interest,” noted the Bulgarian Prime Minister.

During the meeting, Borissov emphasised the excellent trade and economic cooperation between the two countries and expressed the desire to increase Italian investments in Bulgaria and to expand the presence of Bulgarian products on the Italian market. Two-way trade grew by 10.2% in 2018, compared to 2017, amounting to €4.86bn.

The Bulgarian Prime Minister noted the desire to intensify the bilateral partnership in the energy sector, given Italy's role in implementing the strategic Southern Gas Corridor project and improving energy security in the region. Italy's role is also important in building Balkan Stream up to the border with Serbia, a contract for which was signed last September between Bulgartransgaz and the Arcad Consortium (Saudi Arabia and Italy). The expansion of Bulgaria's gas transmission network, along with other important projects, aims to contribute to strengthening Bulgaria's energy security and diversifying its energy routes.

The talks between Prime Ministers Borissov and Conte also focused on the exchange of good practices and expert opinions in the field of road infrastructure and construction, taking into account Italy's experience and the comparative advantages of the two countries.

Borissov noted there are also opportunities for joint projects and the promotion of tourism, pointing to Bulgaria's natural assets for sea, mountain, cultural, spa and eco-tourism. He also expressed his desire to cooperate with Italy in the field of cultural heritage. He stressed how rich in artefacts Bulgaria is, as it ranks third in Europe in this regard, just after Italy and Greece.

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