Young people in the focus of the Bulgarian Presidency – three Bulgarian ministers present the Presidency priorities before the Culture and Education Committee of the European Parliament


Photo: European Parliament

Mr Krasimir Valchev, Minister of Education and Science, Mr Krasen Kralev, Minister of Youth and Sports, and Ms Amelia Gesheva, Deputy Minister of Culture, presented the Presidency priorities before the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT). They explained to the members of the European Parliament why young people feature among the four main Presidency priorities during the traditional exchange of views that takes place at the start of each Presidency.

Presentations before CULT

Mr Valchev said: "The topic of education and training is currently very high on the European agenda. It is also a key area for the Bulgarian Presidency – the education sector has a leading role in two out of our four main priorities. This is why I rely on your support to achieve visible and sustainable results for all European citizens and, above all, to give a clear signal to young people in Europe that their future based on knowledge and skills is a priority for us."

Mr Valchev confirmed the Bulgarian Presidency's support for increasing investments and the added value of Erasmus+, the EU's flagship education exchange programme. He said that Bulgaria would work to attract a higher number of young people to participate in the initiative, but also to improve the synergy between Erasmus+ and national educational programmes. The Bulgarian Presidency will also work on the European Digital Education Action Plan, which aims to help optimise the learning process via the use of digital technologies. The Presidency will make efforts to align the Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning with new technological, ecological and social realities. Bulgaria will also work on a Council Recommendation on promoting common values, inclusive education and the European dimension of teaching.

The full statement by Mr Valchev is available here.

Mr Kralev said: "We need to foster and promote young people as drivers of change in creating the foundation for a sustainable future for all European countries. It is therefore of utmost importance to invest in young people’s education, training and employment opportunities."

To make sure that young people have the chance to have their voice heard, the Bulgarian Presidency will work to implement the Structured Dialogue initiative. Bulgaria will aim to gather input about the future EU Youth Strategy and provide it to the Commission ahead of its presentation during the first half of 2018. As far as the European Solidarity Corps is concerned, the Presidency stands ready to start trilogues as soon as the Parliament adopts its negotiating position.

In the field of sports, the Presidency will work for the promotion of European values through sport. Bulgaria will also seek to promote the role of grassroots sport as a tool for integration and as a bridge between traditions and innovation. The fight against the use of doping in sport will be another priority for the Presidency. We will seek to send the message that the most powerful tool to prevent doping in sport is education. In the context of the review of the World Anti-Doping Code as launched by the World Anti-Doping Agency, the Bulgarian Presidency will prepare the response of the EU and its Member States.

The full statement by Mr Kralev is available here.

Ms Gesheva, stepping in for the Minister of Culture Mr Boil Banov, said: "The European project now more than ever needs unifying links, shared values and a new vision of its future. For us, culture is a proven instrument that contributes to establishing a sense of belonging and community between European citizens, of European identity, enabling Europe to turn into something much more than a single market. That is why in the course of the Bulgarian Presidency culture will be viewed as one of the main drivers of the future social and economic development of the European Union, based on a new reading of its past, with an emphasis on the modern elements, citizens, young people and digital opportunities."

Ms Gesheva said that the revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive was a priority for the Presidency, on which a compromise would be sought. Another piece of legislation on which Bulgaria will seek to make progress is the Regulation on copyright applicable to some online broadcasts and retransmissions of television and radio programmes. Also in the area of copyright, the Presidency will continue working on the Proposal for a Copyright Directive, seeking compromises on the issues on which divergences still exist. Bulgaria also expects to reach an agreement on the proposal to fund the European Youth Orchestra.

The Presidency has recognised cultural heritage as a horizontal priority. With 2018 being the European Year of Cultural Heritage, Bulgaria will look at how cultural heritage can be used to achieve the EU's broad policy objectives. The Presidency will also focus on the creation of new content, which will remain as cultural heritage for future generations.

Finally, Bulgaria will work to enhance the use of culture as a tool in international relations. To this end, we will work to develop a roadmap for an integrated and step-by-step strategic approach to international relations in the area of culture.

The full statement by Ms Gesheva will be made available here.

The presentations of the Bulgarian Presidency priorities before the European Parliament committees will continue throughout the day of 23 January. Bulgarian Ministers are speaking before six more committees – Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO), Transport and Tourism (TRAN), Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL), Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI), Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and Foreign Affairs (AFET).

Together with the Bulgarian Prime Minister's address to the European Parliament plenary, the hearings form part of the interinstitutional dialogue between the Council and the European Parliament.

The detailed schedule of the ministers' appearances is available online

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