Deputy Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency, responsible for the relations with the European Parliament, Monika Panayotova, participated in the capacity of Representative of the Council of the European Union in the Plenary Session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg from 12 till 15 March.
On 13 March, the Presidency presented a position on the withdrawal of the UK on behalf of the Council of the EU. In her presentation Ms. Panayotova emphasised the readiness of the Council to work for developing close and comprehensive cooperation with the United Kingdom. She pointed out that beyond the economic dimensions the cooperation should reflect similarity of interests and challenges which EU and UK share. The Presidency participated in a debate on the preparation of the forthcoming meeting of the European Council on 22-23 March 2018. It will focus on economic issues, with emphasis on jobs, growth and competitiveness. The EU leaders will discuss also the Brexit negotiations in EU-27 format. The reforms in the Eurozone will be the topic of a meeting between the heads of states and governments of the countries with a common currency.
At the end of the plenary day, the traditional debate on the European Semester took place. The main message in the statement on behalf of the Council of the EU was related to the need for mutual cooperation for achieving inclusive growth and job creation, in order to attain concrete results for the benefit of the European citizens and to restore the confidence in a strong and prospering Europe.
On 14 March, Ms. Panayotova took part in a plenary debate on the topic of cybersecurity. On behalf of the Council, the Presidency stated the position that cybersecurity is related to developing the Digital Single Market but there are more and more important challenges before it. Europe’s ambition to become global leader in the area of cybersecurity by 2025 can be achieved based above all on cooperation: public-private, between the Member States, between the different sectors and between the competent authorities in the states, the European institutions as well as with third countries and organisations.
The Council of the European Union was invited to participate in the debate on the assassination of the Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova. The Presidency stressed that the Council strongly condemns this crime and expects that the perpetrators are brought to justice.
During the session, the MEPs discussed the future of the Union with the Prime Minister of Portugal, Mr. Antonio Costa.