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Romanian and Bulgarian governments support building of a third bridge and hydropower plant on the Danube

Romanian and Bulgarian governments support the objectives of building together a third bridge and a hidropower plant on the Danube, Vice Prime Minister Liviu Dragnea told AGERPRES on Thursday, October 17, after meeting in Sofia, where he is currently paying an official visit, the Bulgarian Prime Minister, Plamen Oresarski, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Justice and European Funds, Zinaida Zlatanova, and also the Bulgarian Minister of Regional Development, Desislava Terzieva.

The Romanian high official discussed with the authorities in Sofia about the building of a hydropower plant on the Danube, between Romania and Bulgaria, the Bulgarian head of the Executive saying he will support this project. Another issue brought into talks, according to Dragnea, was represented by the building of a third bridge over Danube. He specified that the locations are going to be agreed in the next interval and that what is important right now is that the Bulgarian government, as well as the Romanian government, both support this objective. 'Experts from the two energy ministries will start to meet. On behalf of Romania, Minister Constantin Nita will take care of the hydropower plant project. The Bulgarian Prime Minister also said it was very possible the location of the hydro power plant to be the one discussed back in 1978, between Nicopole and Belene in Bulgaria and Turnu Magurele and Seaca in Romania respectively', said the Romanian official.

According to him, another issue he discussed in Bulgaria was related to the absorption European funds. 'There are a few measures we have already taken in Romania and presented to our Bulgarian partners - measures that generated a higher absorption rate, while the procedures were much simplified. Next week we will made available in written these procedures for our Bulgarian colleagues', he said.

Regional development was another item on the agenda of the talks between the Romanian official and his Bulgarian counterparts, the two sides agreeing on the need to cooperate more closely in coordinating the regional development policies, while also taking into account the joint projects. 'We also talked about a common approach and a correlation of objectives under the European Strategy for the Danube. It is important that in the future partnership agreement for 2014-2020 Romania and Bulgaria should have a similar approach in respect to the financing of the projects under the Strategy for Danube', Dragnea specified.

Moreover, the Romanian Vice Prime Minister presented to its Bulgarian interlocutors Prime Minister Victor Ponta's proposal to call a joint governmental meeting between Romania and Bulgaria, the parties agreeing next week to have the ministries from the two governments discussing a series of agreements and memorandums to be later signed on the occasion of this meeting.

In the past few years, the exchanges between Romania and Bulgaria were intensified. Trade exchange between the two countries in 2012 exceeded 3 billion euros, while in Q1 2013 they already exceeded 1 billion euros, said Liviu Dragnea, who also added that there exists a very high potential that still remains unused in terms of cooperation in the economic field, energy, agriculture, tourism, as well as European funds.

The Romanian government on Wednesday proposed the re-allotment of 13 million euros for the cross-border cooperation programme with Bulgaria. 'I told them that we have supplemented the funds for the next programming exercise and they told me that they will have the same approach, since this programme have proven to be very efficient. We are considering a budget of 155 million euros on behalf of Romania in the next interval (the total budget of the programme over 2007-2013 was 256 million euros, editor's note). Practically, we allotted 34 percent of the entire budget for cross-border cooperation of Romania for this programme. The entire budget is 450 million euros and we allotted 155 million for this programme', he said.