Ms Temenuzhka Petkova, Bulgaria’s Ministry for the Energy, Mr Ivaylo Moskovski, Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications, Mr Krasimir Valchev, Minister for Education and Science and Mr Emil Karanikolov, Minister for the Economy, presented the presidency priorities in their areas of responsibility before the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). They presented and discussed the Presidency priorities in the context of the traditional exchange of views with the European Parliament at the start of each Presidency.
Ms Petkova said: “The Bulgarian Presidency, in dialogue with the European Parliament, will do its utmost to reach compromise and mutually acceptable solutions for our common progress in the energy sector in order to contribute to a more secure, prosperous and innovative Europe.”
She said that in the energy sector Bulgaria will:
- After the progress made by the Estonian Presidency, work to maintain the pace of the discussions on the “Clean energy for all Europeans” package and achieve the greatest possible progress.
- As regards the Regulation on Governance, the RES Directive and the Energy Efficiency Directive, Bulgaria is ready to start negotiations with the EP and is looking forward to intensive and fruitful discussions with the European Parliament on these issues.
- As regards the Gas Directive, the Bulgarian Presidency will aim to consolidate the positions of the Member States to the greatest possible extent, aiming at a common position of the Council.
- Work actively to develop the potential for regional cooperation through the construction of the missing infrastructure so as to guarantee the security of energy supply. Energy security in South-East Europe would be enhanced by the creation of European gas hub “Balkan”, also supported by the European Commission. Bulgaria will work actively on the interconnectivity in the region of the Western Balkans.
- The diversification of sources and routes, as well as the development of the regional electricity market design are a priority.
The authorised version of the statement by Ms Petkova is available here.
Mr Moskovski said: “One of the goals for all of us is to complete the digital single market by the end of this year. We will continue to prioritise work on the digital economy and digital skills. This is essential for the completion of the Digital Single Market Strategy initiatives. In active cooperation with our partners, we will ensure continuity as regards these files and our ambition is to deliver the best possible results.”
Mr Moskovski said that Bulgaria will work to:
- Complete the negotiations on the reform of the regulatory framework for electronic communications.
- Achieve a common approach on the Cybersecurity Act.
- Make progress on the free flow of the non-personal data file.
- Seek compromise solutions to strike a balance between an appropriate level of protection and sufficient incentives for innovation, when it comes to the issue of e-privacy.
- Start the discussions on the "Third data package" and prepare Council conclusions on the topic of artificial intelligence and robotics.
- Promote the EU's digital policies among the Western Balkan countries, in particular guaranteed broadband coverage for all, by encouraging ultra-high speed cross-border connectivity and emphasizing the introduction of EU rules for the gradual reduction of roaming charges for these countries.
The full statement by Mr Moskovski is available here.
Mr Karanikolov said: “Bulgaria, one of the newest member states of the European Union, takes over the presidency of the Council at a crucial moment for Europe, a time, at which concerted efforts are necessary to add extra energy and power to the integration project. We are aware that six months are not a long period, but as convinced Europeans, we are ambitious to contribute to the development of the European Union, and also to the industry, by protecting what has been achieved so far, and by contributing to future policies and solutions that we could offer jointly to the European citizens.”
When it comes to industrial policy, during its Presidency Bulgaria will:
- Work towards a comprehensive and long-term EU strategy for the industry, which pays special attention to the importance of digital technologies.
- Seek to enhance Europe's competitiveness globally and digitally by promoting innovations and investments in human capital development.
- Follow-up on the European Commission's initiative to support start-ups and growing businesses.
- Monitor closely the development of European space policy, including the core programs of Copernicus, Galileo and Egnos and seek to preserve the competitive advantages of the European space sector in the context of rapidly growing international competition.
- Work to start negotiations on the European Defense Industry Initiative with the prospects of rapid adoption.
The full statement by Mr Karanikolov is available here.
Mr Valchev said: „I rely on your support to achieve visible and sustainable results for all European citizens and, above all, to give a clear message to the young generation that their future based on knowledge and skills is important to us.”
Mr Valchev said that in the area of research, Bulgaria will:
- Provide a platform to all Member States and stakeholders for exchanging ideas on the future of the 9th Framework Program for Research and Innovation. Like this, we hope to structure and facilitate a common approach to the next Framework Program for Research and Innovation – post 2020 - within the next presidencies of the Council of the EU.
- Work on the transfer of knowledge as the fifth freedom of the European Union. To achieve this, we need to help universities and other public research institutions manage the intellectual property when they transfer data. Like that, it will also be easier to attract more private investors to the area of research and innovation.
- Help ensure the long-term sustainability of research infrastructures, including the e-Infrastructure. For this, we will work to adopt the European Open Science Cloud Roadmap as well as for a Council Regulation establishing a Joint Undertaking for the Development of Integrated High-Performance Computing (HPC) Infrastructure.
- Seek an approval in the Council of the new International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) baseline.
The full statement by Mr Valchev is available here.
Bulgarian Ministers presented the Presidency Priorities before the European Parliament throughout the day on 23 January. Earlier that day, ministers spoke before the Committees on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO), Transport and Tourism (TRAN), Culture and Education (CULT), Foreign Affairs (AFET), Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) and Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI).
More Bulgarian ministers will speak before European Parliament committees on 24 and 25 January. The detailed schedule of the ministers’ interventions is available online.