Dimitar Glavchev, Speaker of the Parliament, Alexander Italianer, Secretary General of the European Commission, and Martin Selmayr, Head of Cabinet of the President of the European Commission, have discussed the forthcoming Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU and its parliamentary dimension.
I appreciate highly your visit on the eve of an event of historical significance for our country – the first Presidency of the Council of the European Union 10 years Bulgaria’s accession to the EU, said the Speaker of the Parliament. We are aware of our big responsibility, because since the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty the role of national parliaments has become much more important, added Dimitar Glavchev.
We are working and actively preparing to have a successful presidency, which will be possible only if we fully interact with the European institutions and that is why we count on your cooperation and partnership, said the Speaker of the Parliament. He added that the slogan of the Presidency can be seen on the building of the Bulgarian Parliament.
The parliamentary dimension is a subject of regular discussions and joint meetings of the committees at the 44th National Assembly, said Dimitar Glavchev. He told the guests that in July the MPs unanimously adopted the agenda of the parliamentary dimension. We will work on the Western Balkans, regional cooperation, and preserving the integrity of the EU, added the Speaker of the Parliament. Dimitar Glavchev mentioned that the interaction between the legislative institution and the European Commission is of key importance for the success of the parliamentary dimension.
The Speaker of the Parliament also said that the Bulgarian Parliament is actively involved in the debate on the draft agenda of the Republic of Bulgaria for the presidency. The draft agenda, adopted on 12 July by the Council of Ministers, is being reviewed by the parliamentary committees and widely debated with NGOs, the academia, and researchers, added the Speaker of the Parliament.
We are impressed with the preparation for the forthcoming Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, said the Secretary General of the European Commission, Alexander Italianer, at the meeting. He emphasised that our country has to implement a very important and responsible agenda and be a leader for the member states in this time period. We appreciate highly the preparation of the parliamentary dimension and are convinced in its important role, he added. The forthcoming meeting between the leadership of the National Assembly and the College of the European Commission on 5 January 2018 was also discussed at the meeting.
Alexander Italianer, Secretary General of the European Commission, and Martin Selmayr, Head of Cabinet of the President of the European Commission, met with Chairs of parliamentary committees and representatives of the parliamentary groups.
Dzhema Grozdanova, Chair of the Foreign Policy Committee, emphasised that every Presidency of the Council of the EU aims at achieving concrete results on the agenda of the Union. I believe that we will contribute to deepening the inter-institutional dialogue, it is very important for us that Europe stays strong and united and that is why the slogan of our presidency means that together we are strong, she said. Dzhema Grozdanova stated that Bulgaria is committed to seeking balance and agreement to continue the European project.
Kristian Vigenin, Chair of the Committee on European Affairs and Oversight of the European Funds, said that the Bulgarian parliament has a clear understanding that the political parties should work together on the presidency towards success for Bulgaria and the EU. He said that his Committee has a good interaction with the Minister for the Presidency, Lilyana Pavlova. We will count not only on inter-institutional interaction, but also on coordination with the European parliament and the European Commission, added Kristian Vigenin.
Julian Angelov, MP, said on behalf of the United Patriots that Bulgaria is taking seriously the preparation for the forthcoming presidency and believes that it will prove that it is an honourable member of the EU.
Velislava Krusteva, MP, expressed her satisfaction with the preparation of the Bulgarian administration for the presidency. She said that for the Movement of Rights and Freedoms it is important to analyse risks to the future of Europe.
Alexander Italianer, Secretary General of the European Commission, said that Bulgaria is taking over the presidency at a very important moment for Europe, when it has an ambitious agenda on energy, the digital single market, security, capital markets, defence, the banking union and the single market. He said that after the United Kingdom leaves the Union the focus will shift East and that the Western Balkans will gain new significance, which opens up new opportunities.
Alexander Italianer mentioned that many of the topics important for Bulgaria enjoy the support of the European Commission and success can be achieved, if our country is involved as an honest mediator which will push on. In his words, the preparation for the presidency is going well and Bulgaria’s contribution will be of key importance.
Martin Selmayr, Head of Cabinet of the President of the European Commission, said that Bulgaria is well prepared for the forthcoming presidency. In his words, President Juncker’s advice is “do not promise too much, achieve more”. Martin Selmayr emphasised that as of 1 January 2018 Sofia will be the capital of the EU and the country will have a chance to be the face of the Union.
The meeting was also attended by Konstantin Popov, Chair of the Defence Committee, Desislava Atanasova, Deputy Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee, and Evgeniya Angelova, Deputy Chair of the Committee on Budget and Finance.