ATHENS: Greece and Bulgaria signed on Wednesday in the northern Greek city port of Kavala a memorandum of cooperation to speed up the construction of a railway link which will be connecting Greece’s northern ports to Bulgaria’s Black Sea ports, according to Greek national news agency AMNA.
The agreement concerns the interconnection of Greece’s ports of Kavala, Alexandroupolis and Thessaloniki with the Bulgarian ports of Varna and Burgas on the Black Sea and Ruse, a port on the Danube River.
The project is expected to create a new freight corridor that will boost the development of the ports and turn them into important trade hubs in the region.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke of a deal of “historic and geopolitical significance” which will boost the two countries’ and the wider region’s common course towards growth, according to an emailed statement from his office.
The Greek leader made the remarks during a joint press conference with his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov.
On his part, Borisov announced plans to try to extend this cooperation to include Serbia and Romania in the future.
“Greece and Bulgaria can play a significant role in the Balkans,” the Bulgarian premier stressed.
Borisov added that in talks with Tsipras, the two leaders agreed to request a meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in October to present their common ideas and proposals for the further development of the Balkan region.
No references to timetables or costs were made during Wednesday’s event, but according to Greek government sources, the project could reach up to 4 billion euros (4.8 billion U.S. dollars) and the two sides plan to seek European funds.