Sofia: EU Presidency guests voice optimism and expectations

Written by on January 12, 2018 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Sofia: EU Presidency guests voice optimism and expectations

On Thursday afternoon, police had cordoned off a huge chunk of Sofia, namely the National Theatre Ivan Vazov and several blocks around that venue. Residents had trouble getting home, employees could hardly get to their offices in the very centre of the capital.

But what was a security measure to the police, and a huge mess to residents, was the preparation for the big ceremony, which celebrated the beginning of Bulgaria’s EU Council Presidency in the evening.

Apart from music by the excellent band Bulgara, as well as other groups and artists, the audience got to listen to several speeches. All of them were full of optimism for Bulgaria’s big task, and they contained expectations.

Antonio Tajani, the President of the European Parliament said, he welcomed the Bulgarian government’s intention to focus on promoting entrepreneurship based on digital technology and innovation, during the Presidency.

Tajani also called for a push to solve the migration crisis: “We all agree on the need to adapt the European asylum system to the current challenges, but we must do it in a spirit of true European solidarity”, Tajani said. “Together with the Bulgarian Presidency, we are now asked to transpose this understanding into concrete action: 2018 will be a crucial year in that respect.”

He promised, the European Parliament was “ready to assist the Presidency with all available means. You can count on us as a strong, committed and reliable partner during your Presidency.”

Antonio Tajani wants to “adapt the European asylum system to the current challenges.”

The President of the European Counil, Donald Tusk, impressed his hosts with his good knowledge of the Bulgarian language. Also, he applauded Bulgaria for working on including the Western Balkans.

“Stability, security, prosperity: This is what the people of the whole region deserve. And the EU’s purpose is to help make this screenplay a reality”, Tusk stated.

It is a good thing that one of the priorities of the Bulgarian presidency is the future of the Western Balkans. Who, if not you – the descendants of Spartacus, the inheritors of the oldest European statehood, you, who never ever lost a flag in any battle – would be better placed to rise to this important and exceptionally difficult task, that is to renew the European perspective for the whole of the region?”

And Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, talked about the “Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices” choir and how one of their tunes was sent to space on Voyager 1. Then he built a bridge to the present, saying the Bulgarian voices would be heard “loudly and prominently” in Europe.

Jucker said, he had a special affection for Bulgaria, its people, its culture, its Shopska Salad and its Lukanaka. The Bulgarian hosts liked that part of his speech. And the next part too: “I can think of nobody better than my friend Boiko to carry Europe forward and act as a bridge builder in our Union and beyond. I know he will do this with force (…), because he is a strong and committed European.

Photos by EU2018BG.

 

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