Craiova Group, a quadrilateral cooperation formula more important than the Visegrad Group
The quadrilateral summit that took place in Varna, Bulgaria on November 2, 2018, highlights the political affinities, experience and resources of the four South Eastern European countries: Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia.
The name of this group is claimed by the Craiova Group in 2015 when the first ministers of Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia had their first meeting and signed a memorandum of collaboration. The three countries have now joined Greece, which is even more important to the Craiova Group. The four states show that they are potentially important for Europe’s stability, for collaborating in vital sectors of the European Union, such as energy, infrastructure, border security.
The Craiova Group, in a quadrilateral format, can prove to be a tool for stability in the Balkans and a factor in promoting the renewal policies of the European Union.
One of the first initiatives, after a meeting in Vidin, Bulgaria, was to strengthen the telecommunication networks in the border areas of the countries. Other goals include helping Serbia join the European Union and the construction of a motorway linking Bucharest, Sofia and Belgrade.
Greece has joined the meetings and initiatives of the Group alongside Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia.
On 2 November 2018, Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov stated that Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsiprasproposed joint bid for the 2030 FIFA World Cup by Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Greece during the meeting in Thessaloniki.
Given that the Visegrad Group appears to be severely cracked because of the nationalist and ultraconservative policies in Poland and Hungary, the populist outbursts in the Czech Republic, the Craiova Group has real chances of assertion as a lever for the fulfilment of the ideals of the New Europe. With a population of over 45 million inhabitants, the Craiova Group (Romania + Bulgaria + Greece + Serbia) is a stronger force than the Baltic States Group (Poland + Lithuania + Latvia + Estonia) and Scandinavian Countries, whose population is almost two times smaller than the six Scandinavian states.
Quotes & Speeches by the leaders
This format of consultations provides a good opportunity to strengthen dialogue and identify ways of cooperation in the Southeast European region, especially in terms of economic development. We discussed today about economic cooperation, concrete projects that the four states I can develop, about the 16 + 1 format, about a meeting in which to concretize the projects that we have just discussed today,
-Romanian Prime Minister, Viorica Dancila, (April 2018)
I would say that the mere fact that this format of cooperation continues to exist is a clear sign that it was a constructive, productive format and we want to mention that we want to continue to do things to bring us closer, not to we want to have an infrastructure that connects us with Europe and the rest of the world, we want to increase the level of economic development, improve tourism and make progress in all other economic sectors, ”
-Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov (April 2018)
This group also put forward the plans for connecting the port of Thessaloniki with the ports in Bulgaria and Romania, improving the connectivity with Belgrade, Bratislava with Skopje, Greece and Serbia, also in this initiative to improve regional connectivity with Pristina.
We need to build a European vision for the future of this region while fulfilling the criteria proposed by the European Union and ensuring the principles of good neighbourliness,”
-Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister of Greece. (April 2018)
The exchange of goods between Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece has increased in recent years. of tourists to Serbia and also to Serbia to these three countries. We believe that these meetings are very relevant to our countries,
-Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic (April 2018)
Archana Sinha The Kootneeti Eastern Europe Team