Greece Earmarks EUR 200 Mln for Border Crossings to Bulgaria

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Greece has earmarked over 200 million euro for the building of three new crossings on its border with Bulgaria, Greek Transport and Communications Minister Mihalis Liapis told reporter, quoted by BTA. He was referring to the crossings at Komotini/Makaza, Xanthi/Roudozem and Kyprinos/Ivailovgrad.

Responding to a proposal by Bulgarian Transport Minister Peter Moutafchiev to open the common border at more spots, the guest expressed his conviction that not just three crossings, but maybe even thirteen such facilities can be set up after they are included in a Greek national programme.

Emerging from a meeting with the Greek minister, Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev said the building of new cross-border links between the two countries will not only have a positive economic impact, but will also help expand people-to-people relations.

Greece is a leading investor in Bulgaria, Stanishev said. Tourism is among the areas in which the two countries are developing their cooperation. The flow of Bulgarians travelling to Greece has increased.

Bulgaria and Greece can open two tourist crossings, between Zlatograd and Kavala and at Smolyan-Arda-Drama, by 2008, Moutafchiev said, adding that the matter needs to be regulated by a bilateral agreement.

In the field of air transport, Sofia proposed creating an aviation network to link capitals and other cities in Southeast Europe in order to boost trade and economic growth. A Bulgarian-Greek working group will discuss the project before proposing it to the other countries concerned.

The sides are considering an on-train control service in order to reduce border crossing time on the railway between Sofia and Thessaloniki. Another proposal concerning this route is to improve mobile phone network coverage.

The two countries also agreed to develop railway cargo operations between two pairs of seaports: Varna and Thessaloniki, and Bourgas and Alexandroupolis.

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