The successful cooperation between the Visegrad Group, consisting of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia has inspired other European countries to set up their own forms of regional cooperation. The latest summit of the Craiova Group, made up of Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia has just concluded and its seems like the four countries have agreed to submit a joint bid to host the 2030 football World Cup
The Craiova group was formed in the Romanian city Craiova in 2015 and the then Prime Minister of Romania, Victor Ponta admitted that they had been inspired by the Visegrad Group. In 2017, Greece decided to join the group as well. New projects presented at the recent summit in the Bulgarian city of Varna prove that the group’s cooperation is deepening. Speaking at the joint press conference following the summit, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, revealed that in order to show other countries that the new form of cooperation between the four countries has strategic depth, they intend to have a common candidacy for a large sports event in the next ten years.
The Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov later specified that the countries are eying the 2030 Football World Cup. The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, was invited as a guest and offered the countries to participate in the new EastMed gas pipeline project which will would be the longest underwater gas pipeline in the world.
It is planned to go from Israeli gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean through Cyprus, Crete, Greece, Italy, and possibly up to the Balkans.
Other top priorities for the group include the construction of a highway linking the capital cities of Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania as well as swift EU membership for Serbia.
At the press conference, Prime Minister of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, expressed his gratitude to the three other members of the Craiova Group for the support that they are providing to Serbia on its path to the European Union. He continued by explaining the tense situation in the Western Balkans to his colleagues, especially focusing on the relations between Serbia and Kosovo while calling for the need to continue dialogue. Plans to correct the border in Northern Kosovo surfaced earlier this year in both Serbia and Kosovo, leading to a few days of escalating emotions on both sides of the border.
The four Prime Ministers stated that they were pleased with what had been achieved at the summit and that works on the joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup are planned to start in the coming months.