Mariya Gabriel from Vienna: Bulgaria and Austria work together for more security and stability in Europe17 November 2023 News
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mariya Gabriel visited Austria at the invitation of Federal Minister for European and International Affairs Alexander Schallenberg.
‘Bulgaria and Austria are good partners and friends. Together we can participate in shaping the decisions that matter for Europe, for the benefit of citizens and businesses’, Gabriel stated. She recalled that next year would mark 145 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Gabriel thanked Austria for its support for Bulgaria's accession to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The deputy prime minister also supported Austria's position that the Schengen area should adapt and respond to the new realities. ‘Bulgaria in Schengen means an additional strong voice in support of a better functioning Schengen area. Our membership will strengthen security at the EU’s external borders and make Europe more competitive,’ the Deputy Prime Minister was adamant.
Mariya Gabriel congratulated Austria on its presidency of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, where opportunities for joint projects would be sought. She also welcomed the interest for Austrian investments in Bulgaria and stated her desire for their further strengthening.
‘I see potential for strengthening cooperation in areas such as renewable energy, innovation, green technologies, digitalisation, education, culture,’ Gabriel noted. Austria is the second largest foreign investor in Bulgaria. ‘Nearly 350 Austrian companies operate in Bulgaria. This is another reason to work together for the benefit of businesses and citizens’, Gabriel added.
During the visit, current international issues were also discussed, including support for Ukraine, the situation in the Middle East and the enlargement policy of the European Union. There is also a common position of categorical condemnation of Hamas' terrorist actions against Israel and Israel's right to self-defence in compliance with international law.
‘Bulgaria supports EU enlargement to the Western Balkans on the basis of the principle of own merits. Secure, stable and sharing the EU values countries close to Bulgaria is a matter of strategic importance’, the Deputy Prime Minister stressed. ‘Common projects, shared values and joint initiatives not only deepen the cooperation between Bulgaria and Austria, but also make Europe stronger,’ Mariya Gabriel concluded.
The joint press conference of Deputy Prime Minister Mariya Gabriel and Federal Minister for European and International Affairs Alexander Schallenberg is available at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/live/7-Y6e-9x-YI?si=x0a4RThVnBwvVzzw