Photo: Velislav Nikolov (EU2018BG)
The priorities and the preparation for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union received a warm welcome from the President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani and the leaders of the eight political groups in the EP during their visit to Sofia. The delegation traditionally visits the country of the forthcoming Presidency about a month prior to its start.
In a bilateral meeting between the Bulgarian government and the EP representatives, the Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency Liliana Pavlova presented the priorities of Bulgaria in the chair of the EU Council: the future of Europe and of the young people; security and stability; European perspective and connectivity of the Western Balkans; digital economy.
‘We have set a goal to ourselves to respond to the needs of the citizens of Europe to the maximum extent – more security, more stability and more solidarity. The priorities we have set are part of the common European agenda,’ Pavlova said.
Photo: Velislav Nikolov (EU2018BG)
‘The meeting was very fruitful and the debate – concrete on topics close to the hearts of the European citizens. We talked about the problems with migration, fighting terrorism, economic growth with emphasis on digitalization, about a greener economy. We talked about foreign policy, stability in the Middle East and Africa, relations with Turkey and the situation in the Balkans. Our common goal is to give specific answers to half a billion Europeans. We are ready to work together with the Bulgarian Presidency,’ said Antonio Tajani in a joint press- conference with the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov.
‘I am sure that the Presidency can be of benefit for all. I can see a great chance for real progress in the accession of the Western Balkans to the European Union. What is free of any risk is infrastructure – not only roads, ports and rail roads, but also education and digitalization,’ stressed Boyko Borissov.
In his talks with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, Antonio Tajani said that the Bulgarian priority for the forthcoming Presidency – the process of accession of the Western Balkans to the Community had been already recognised as a common European one. Both of them talked about the topics of protection of the external borders and the fight against illegal immigration, the EU budget, economic growth, and the fight with climate change.
Antonio Tajani met the Speaker of the Bulgarian Parliament Tsveta Karayancheva. Both of them discussed the scheduled meetings from the parliamentary dimension, which are part of the calendar of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU 2018. As a token of appreciation for the beneficial relations between the two institutions, she gave him a replica of the parliamentary bell.
In his address to the Bulgarian MPs Antonio Tajani underscored that national parliaments are the best counterparts of the European institutions in their effort to bring Europe closer to the citizens.
‘Economy, migration, the terrorist threat – these are the major concerns of our citizens. Only by giving concrete answers can we override the rhetoric of those who suggest closing inside ourselves as a panacea. We must admit that some problems have to be resolved at regional level, others – at state level, and a third kind – at a continental level,’ Tajany explained further.
‘I want to improve the European project, to explain it to the citizens and for everyone to feel part of it. I invite the Bulgarian National Assembly to take an active part in this process – Europe has to rely on the wisdom and the enthusiasm of this ancient people, whom you represent,’ the EP President said before the Bulgarian MPs.
During the meeting of the meeting of the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament and the National Assembly, Minister Liliana Pavlova received support from all political forces in the Bulgarian Parliament.
‘In spite of having our political differences, we have declared on many occasions before that on the Presidency, as well as on the future of Europe, we are prepared to look for national consent,’ Cornelia Ninova, leader of the BSP for Bulgaria Group stated.
The President of the GERB group Tsvetan Tsvetanov thanked Minister Pavlova for her efforts to coordinate all the activities on the preparation of the Bulgarian Presidency. ‘We will do our best to present our country at its best in order to be part of a strong and united Europe,’ he said.
Finally, Antonio Tajani and the representatives of the political forces in the European Parliament participated in the Citizens’ Dialogue Initiative. In auditorium 272 of the University of Sofia, which was full of young people, they responded to many questions about overcoming youth unemployment, about tackling the terrorist threat and about overcoming climate change.
Before the meeting with the students, the Rector of the University of Sofia Prof. Atanas Gerdzhikov conferred the honorary medal of St. Clement of Ohrid on the EP President Antonio Tajani.