22 September, 2023
The Bridge of Friendship (photo: Yavor Michev, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikipedia Commons)

Infrastructural projects and international relations are two domains, where Bucharest and Sofia look for collaboration, but don`t manage always to find reciprocity

Vladimir Mitev

The blog „Bridge of Friendship“ published a digital book in English, Romanian and Bulgarian language, called „The Difficult Cooperation: Romania and Bulgaria’s Foreign Policy Exchanges and Infrastructural Projects after a decade in the EU“. The document collects 11 articles, published on the blog in the last two years. A part of these articles is republished on blog with permission from media in Croatia (Bilten), Romania (Gândul, PS News, Ioniţa`s) and Bulgaria (A-specto, Baricada).

The first part of the book explores Romanian-Bulgarian infrastructure projects, noting the general lack of will for development of the transport connections between the two countries in the first ten years after the entering in the EU. Only in 2017 the opening of a new border crossing point in Dobruja and the intensification of joint intergovernamental sessions have started to show the desire of Bucharest and Sofia for a better cross-border connectivity.

The second part of the book deals with two projects for foreign policy cooperation in the Black Sea region, which remain unrealised so far. The first initiative is a Romanian attempt for the creation of a NATO fleet in the Black Sea – a project, which was rejected by Bulgaria while the Romanian president Klaus Iohannis was in Sofia in June 2016. Two articles on this topic explain the context and the causes for Bulgarian rejection and unveil how the Romanian foreign policy community has interpreted the failure of Iohannis in Sofia.

The second attempt is the idea for creation of a Black Sea macroregion of the EU, which was formulated in April 2017 by Bulgarian foreign policy experts, who were interviewed on the blog. The booklet presents two Romanian comments on this idea. The first one is sceptical and belongs to a young Romanian journalist, who focuses on international relations analyses. The second one is politve and comes from a Romanian member of the European Parliament.

The digital booklet presents opinions about the bilateral relations, which were formulated by two members of the European Parliament – a Romanian and a Bulgarian, by foreign policy experts from both countries and gathers last data about the current condition of Romanian-Bulgarian relations in infrastructure and diplomacy. Every larger topic is presented by the author of the book – Vladimir Mitev, through a comment that completes the presented information, putting it into national and international context.

The conclusion of the book is reflected in the title – so far Romania and Bulgaria cooperate with certain difficulties. However, at the same time there are signs that tendencies in relations between the people themselves – Romanians and Bulgarians, are positive. The book tries to support exactly this mutual knowledge and cooperation between the nations. The document can be useful for anybody who wants to be informed about the current state of bilateral relations and who searches for a better understanding of the regional and European politics in our region.

The digital book can be downloaded here: „The Difficult Cooperation: Romania and Bulgaria’s Foreign Policy Exchanges and Infrastructural Projects after a Decade in the EU“

Read in Romanian language!

Read in Bulgarian language!

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