Closer cooperation in the energy and transport sectors dominated a meeting in Athens on Thursday between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his visiting Bulgarian counterpart Nikolay Denkov, who arrived in the Greek capital at the head of a high-ranking Sofia government delegation.

Both neighboring countries already enjoy close cooperation in the specific sectors, with the emphasis now being on an expansion vertical energy and transport routes from the Aegean to eastern and central Europe. Along those same lines, greater cooperation in the RES field was discussed.

A center-piece of bilateral cooperation is the 182-kilometer IGB gas pipeline, featuring a design capacity of three billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. The pipeline has boosted energy connectivity and security in the wider region, and will will soon tap into the near-completion FSRU facility in the Gulf of Thrace.

In other matters, Mitsotakis congratulated Denkov over an extension of Schengen visa access for Bulgaria (and Romania), which will come into effect next March. The Greek PM said he looks forward to the full application of the Schengen area benefits for Bulgaria, “including land borders, which are naturally very important for our bilateral relations and trade.”

Denkov praised what he called the excellent strategic relations in various sectors, including defense, and cited the need to accelerate bilateral projects.

Accompanying Denkov, a noted chemistry professor, were Bulgarian Deputy Premier and Foreign Affairs Minister Mariya Gabriel, Finance Minister Asen Vassilev, Environment & Water Minister Julian Popov and Energy Minister Rumen Radev.