Bulgarian Interior Minister Valentin Radev, interviewed by the Independent Balkan News Agency

On the sidelines of the 2nd Ministerial Meeting in Thessaloniki, the Bulgarian Minister of Interior, Valentin Radev, spoke to Spiros Sideris about how united a front the Balkan countries that participated present (Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece) and their common efforts to work even closer. During this particular period, the main issues concerning all four states are immigration, organised crime and the unity which needs to be cherished and preserved, not only among the four, but across the Balkan region.

How important is this meeting between these countries for the security and stability of the Balkan region?

 That’s what we have discussed, that this meeting – the second, by the way – is very important to us for information exchange. On principle, we know each other or meet in Brussels, and discuss issues specifically related to these topics -immigration, terrorism- where there are good examples of dealing with it, where there are problems. We talk about organised crime, about wildfires, which is also a problem in the region. Everyone shares their experience and along with that, we cite good examples, because up to now, these four countries -Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, and Macedonia and Albania- are helping each other. Recently we had a problem in Bulgaria, a very big fire in the Kresna Gorge. For dozens of years we had not had something of this scale, and (thus) we made some calls. The colleagues were ready to send a helicopter immediately. The colleague who is hosting us, (Greek Foreign Minister) Nikolaos (Kotzias), recommended that we carried out joint training exercises. Joint activities that would involve Bulgaria and Greece, and in that way, when action is required, it will go smoothly. Of course, the main topics were migration, terrorism, and organised crime.

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