Bulgaria’s National Assembly adopted on December 1 a declaration, tabled by MPs from various parliamentary groups, on the country’s 2018 Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The declaration was adopted with 154 votes in favour, 15 abstentions and none against.
The declaration affirms Parliament’s support for the priorities of Bulgaria for the EU Presidency, endorsing the messages of consensus, competitiveness and cohesion, as well as the motto, which in the official English translation, is “United We Stand Strong”.
The National Assembly called on the government, when adopting the final programme for the Presidency, to take into account the topics of the European budget, Cohesion Policy, Common Agricultural Policy; Defence, Security and Migration; The European Social Model, Education, Youth and Culture; Competitive Economy, digital market; Enlargement and Regional Co-operation.
Parliament’s declaration encourages the government to work towards the adoption of balanced solutions in order to preserve unity between EU countries, and to implement the EU’s strategic priorities, while also directing its efforts towards specific results within the Presidency.
The declaration calls on Cabinet ministers to inform the relevant parliamentary committees regularly about the progress of the Bulgarian Presidency’s priorities. The results of European Council meetings to be presented to the National Assembly, the declaration says.
After the final version of Bulgaria’s EU Presidency programme is adopted by the Cabinet, it should be submitted to Parliament.
Lilyana Pavlova, Minister in charge of the EU Presidency, expressed thanks Parliament and the government were working together on the formulation of national priorities.
The final version of Bulgaria’s EU Presidency programme would be submitted to the Cabinet meeting on December 6.
On December 1, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva gave a presentation to visiting state secretaries and secretaries-general of EU foreign ministries, her ministry said in a statement.
The Foreign Ministry said that this was the first major event on the calendar of the Bulgarian EU Presidency.
Referring to the motto of the Bulgarian EU Presidency, Zaharieva said that standing strong, unity and solidarity were key to the success of the European project and the EU.
Zaharieva reiterated that the Western Balkans – named as a priority for the Bulgarian EU Presidency – were of vital importance to security and prosperity in Europe, and this would be one of the central messages during the EU summit on the Western Balkans to be held in Sofia in May 2018.
“It is vitally important to revive the European perspective of the countries of the region,” Zaharieva said. “Young people should be given a perspective, where youth unemployment is 60 per cent,” she added.
She emphasised the need to develop the digital skills of people in the EU, especially young people, the importance of economic growth and Cohesion Policy, as well as the security and stability of the EUJ in the context of geopolitical processes and the migration crisis.
“Cohesion Policy is very important for us, for every euro given to Bulgaria, 60 cents return to net payers,” Zaharieva said.
The Foreign Ministry said that the main focus of the discussions at the meeting of EU foreign ministry officials would be the interaction between the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the member states.