LIX PLENARY MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES FOR UNION AFFAIRS OF THE PARLIAMENTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION (LIX PLENARY COSAC)

from

17.06.2018

14:00

to

19.06.2018

14:30

The Plenary Meeting of the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union (Plenary COSAC) brings together delegations of the European Affairs Committees from Member States’ national parliaments and observers from EU partner countries. During the conference, the parliamentarians have the opportunity to discuss issues from the European agenda and exchange good parliamentary practices. The Plenary meeting of COSAC is held twice per year.

Each national parliament and the European Parliament are represented by a delegation of six members. The candidate countries and other special guests can participate as observers with a delegation of up to three members.

The Plenary COSAC is the final meeting of the Parliamentary Dimension of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU. It is a common practice for COSAC delegations to submit joint Contributions and Conclusions to the attention of the European Parliament, the Council, and the European Commission. They are to present national parliaments’ positions on issues related to EU affairs and reflect on COSAC activities for the Presidency period. Upon discussing the Contributions and Conclusions, the chairs vote and adopt the two documents.

The LIX Plenary COSAC will take place on 18-19 June 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

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Speakers

TSVETA KARAYANCHEVA

PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

Tsveta Karayancheva started her political career as a municipal councilor in the town of Kardzhali. She was elected Member of the 41st, 42nd and 43rd National Assembly. She has been a Member of the standing parliamentary committees on regional policy, public works and local self-government, agriculture and forestry, and labor and social policy. She was elected Vice President of the Parliament within the current 44th National Assembly. On 17 November 2017 she was elected President of the Bulgarian Parliament. She is the Head of the National Assembly Delegation to the Interparliamentary Union as well as of the Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the South-East European Cooperation Process.

RUMEN RADEV

PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF BULGARIA

Rumen Radev is the fifth democratically elected President of the Republic of Bulgaria. He was born on 18 June 1963 in Dimitrovgrad. He graduated the High School of Mathematics in Haskovo with a gold medal in 1982. Rumen Radev took his University Degree at the Air Force Academy in Dolna Mitropolia with distinction. In 1992 he successfully completed the Air Force Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, USA. From 1994 to 1996 Rumen Radev attended the Command and Staff College – G.S.Rakovski National Defence University, Bulgaria, and graduated as first in his year.In 2000 Radev was awarded PhD in Military Science, majoring in ‘Enhancing the Tactical Training of Aircrews and Air Combat Simulations’. In 2003 Rumen Radev completed the Air War College, Maxwell AFB, USA, as a distinguished graduate and took Master’s Degree in ‘Strategic Studies’. His name is written on the Glory Alley of the Air War College. Rumen Radev is a 1st Class pilot with more than 1400 flight hours. He is a MiG-29 Instructor and Demo-pilot and was promoted a Major General. During 2014-2016 Rumen Radev was Commander of the Bulgarian Air Force. In November 2016 Rumen Radev was elected President of the Republic of Bulgaria in direct elections, gaining over 60% support of the Bulgarian voters. He is fluent in English, German and Russian.

BOYKO BORISSOV

PRIME MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF BULGARIA

Born Junе 13, 1959. In 1982 Borissov graduated from the Higher Special School of the Ministry of Interior as an engineer in “Fire Equipment and Safety” with the rank of ‘Lieutenant’. He then served as platoon commander and company commander in the Ministry of Interior. From 1985 to 1990 he was as lecturer at the Higher Institute for Police Officers’ Training and Scientific Research of the Ministry of Interior. He received a PhD for his dissertation thesis “Psycho-Physical Training of the Operational Staff”. In 1990 Borissov left the system of the Ministry of Interior and a year later established the “IPON-1” company, one of the largest security companies in the country and a corporate member of the International Association of Personal Protection Agents (IAPPA). Boyko Borissov is an individual member of IAPPA. On September 1, 2001 Borissov was appointed Secretary General of the Ministry of Interior by Decree Nr. 194/2001 of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria. He was promoted to the rank of ‘Colonel’ by an ordinance of the Minister of Interior. Borissov was awarded the rank of ‘Major General’ by Decree Nr. 32/2002 of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria. On June 25, 2004 he was awarded the rank of ‘Lieutenant General’. On November 10, 2005 Borissov was elected Mayor of Sofia Municipality by Decision Nr. 270/06.11.2005 of the Sofia Municipal Council. Since January 10, 2010 he is the Chairman of political party GERB (PP GERB). Boyko Borissov has received a number of awards over his career. These include: the international Foundation Prize (Prix de la Fondation) of the Crans Montana Forum for his commitment and efforts in countering corruption and organized crime in Bulgaria (2010), an award by Europol for good cooperation with the Bulgarian Security Services (2010), the bronze “European Bull” award by the Taxpayers Association Europe (TAE) (2009), Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity (2006), a Baton of Honor by the Director General of the Spanish Police, a Medal for Comradeship-in-Arms by the Deputy Director of the Federal Security Service of Russia, the Medal of Honor of the French Police on behalf of the President of France and on behalf of the French Minister of Interior, Internal Security and Local Liberties, the Cross of Police Merit with a red star (Cruz al Mérito Policial) by the Minister of Interior of the Kingdom of Spain for special merits to the Spanish Police, a prize for outstanding contribution to the promotion of tennis in Bulgaria by President of Tennis Europe Jacques Dupre (2012), Certificate of Appreciation from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with the US Department of Justice for outstanding contribution to countering drug-related crime, from the Ministry of Interior and the General Directorate of the Turkish National Police, from Europol Director Jurgen Storbeck, etc. Borissov was Member of Parliament from the Parliamentary Group of PP GERB in the 42nd National Assembly and was elected for Member of Parliament in the 43rd and 44th National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria. He served as Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria from 27 July 2009 to 21 February 2013 and from 7 November 2014 to 27 January 2017. Borissov was elected Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria on 4 May 2017 by the 44th National Assembly.

KRISTIAN VIGENIN

Chair of the Committee on European Affairs and Oversight of the European Funds

Kristian Vigenin is Chair of the Committee on European affairs and Oversight of the European funds in the 44th National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria. Prior to assuming this position in May 2017, he has been Member of the 40th (2005-2007) and 43rd (2014-2017) National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria; Minister of Foreign Affairs (May 2013 - August 2014); Member of the European Parliament (January 2007 - May 2013). Between 2010 and 2013 he was a co-President of the EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly. As a parliamentarian, he has been actively involved in the OSCE PA: he was appointed Special Representative of OSCE PA for South Caucasus in February 2016 and Vice-President of the SDSP Group in OSCE PA in July 2016 and, in addition, he has been elected as Member of the Bureau of OSCE PA, Rapporteur of 1st Committee.

MAIREAD McGUINNESS

First Vice-President of the European Parliament

Mairead McGuinness is the First Vice-President of the European Parliament and represents the Midlands-North-West constituency in Ireland. As First Vice-President, she oversees relations with national parliaments, in particular with the EU affairs committees of Member State parliaments. She has responsibility for the Parliament’s dialogue with religious and non-confessional organisations on EU policies and legislative proposals under Article 17 of the TFEU. Mairead is Vice-Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Montenegro Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee and is Chair of the Transatlantic Relations Working Group in the European Ideas Network think-tank. She is a member of the Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee and the Constitutional Affairs Committee. Mairead chaired the Parliament’s investigation into the collapse of the Equitable Life assurance company which identified issues around weak financial regulation. She is a Member of the European Parliament since 2004 and has been a Vice-President of the Parliament since 2014. Prior to becoming an MEP, Mairead was a journalist, broadcaster and commentator.

LILYANA PAVLOVA

Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU 2018

Born on 6th of December 1977 in Sofia, Bulgaria, Mrs Lilyana Pavlova is a Bulgarian politician, currently Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2018. Lilyana Pavlova was a member of the Council of Ministers in the other two governments with the Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, namely Minister of the Regional Developments and Public Works (2014 - January 2017 and 2011 – 2013). She was a Deputy Minister in the same Ministry in the period 2009 - 2011.Mrs Pavlova has a long experience in the field of management of European funds and projects since 1997. In the period 2002 – 2009 she was held the position of Head of Department at National Fund Directorate, Ministry of Finance (Financial Management, Control and Certification of the Structural and Cohesion Funds of the European Union, pre-accession funds and programs).Lilyana Pavlova has a PhD in Economics. She graduated from the University of National and World Economy in Sofia in 2000, in International Economic Relations. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration and European Integration from Varna Free University "Chernorizets Hrabar". She is fluent in English and Russian.Married with a child.

EKATERINA ZAHARIEVA

Deputy Prime Minister for Judicial Reform and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria

Ekaterina Zaharieva has been Deputy Prime Minister for Judicial Reform and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria since 2017. She has served as a Minster of Justice in the second government of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov from 2015 until 2017. In 2013 and 2014 she has been Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and Public Works in the first and second caretaker government of President Rossen Plevneliev. 2013–2015 Zaharieva served as Chief of Staff to the President of the Republic of Bulgaria and 2012–2013 – as General Secretary of the Administration of President Rossen Plevneliev. She was Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works in the first government of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov (2009-2013).

NIKOLA DIMITROV

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

The Foreign Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Nikola Dimitrov, was born in Skopje, Macedonia in 1972. He is a lawyer in education. From 1991 to 1996 he studied Law at the St. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, FYROM. In 1998, he obtained a master's degree from King's College, University of Cambridge, UK, specializing in international law, human rights and peaceful settlement of international disputes. His political career includes various positions and functions: Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the FYROM (2000), National Security Advisor to the Macedonian President (October 2000 - November 2001), Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the FYROM to the United States of America (2001-2006), National Coordinator of the FYROM for NATO (2006-2009), Special Envoy of the Government of the FYROM for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration in Brussels (September 2007 - February 2008), Representative of the FYROM to the International Court of Justice (December 2008 - May 2011), Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the FYROM to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Permanent Representative of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (October 2009 - March 2014) , Distinguished Fellow at the Hague Institute for Global Justice (April 2014 - March 2017), Associate at the International Center for Legal Cooperation (April-May 2017). He was also special envoy to the negotiations between the FYROM and the Hellenic Republic to overcome the difference over the name under the UN auspices (March 2003 - November 2008). Nikola Dimitrov is married and has three children.

DOMAGOJ IVAN MILOŠEVIĆ

Chairman of the Committee on European Affairs of the Croatian Parliament

Domagoj Ivan Milošević is a Croatian politician and businessman currently serving as the Chairman of the European Affairs Committee in the 9th term of the Croatian Parliament. He is the former Deputy Prime Minister of Croatian Government in charge of investments, supporting foreign and local investors, improving business and investment climate in Croatia and local legal framework in the 2010/2011 period. This Government finished negotiation process with EU in mid-2011. Milošević was elected Member of the Croatian Parliament for three consecutive times, in Croatian Parliamentary elections in 2011, 2015 and 2016. During his parliamentary career Milošević, among other functions, served as the Chairman of the Committee on the Economy. Milošević has also a successful business career in different medium and small enterprises, ranging from fire safety to construction and development sector. He is a founding member of the Croatian Exporters Association and served as the President of the Supervisory Board of Croatian Employers Association and member of Business Advisory Council for South East Europe by Regional Cooperation Council. Milošević obtained his degree of Doctor of Medicine from Zagreb School of Medicine and the degree of Master of Business Administration from Bled School of Management.

LUCA JAHIER

President of European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

Luca Jahier has been a member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) since 2002. Within the EESC, he has worked extensively on the European Union's social and cohesion policies as well as on international matters. In September 2004, he was elected vice-president of the EESC's Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship. In October 2006, he was elected vice-president of Group III, member of the Committee Bureau for two years and member of the EU-Croatia and EU-Turkey Joint Consultative Committees. From October 2008 to 2010, he was president of the ACP-EU Follow-up Committee and president of the Permanent group on Immigration and Integration. In October 2011, he was elected president of Group III of the EESC, and was re-elected in January 2013 and in October 2015. In this capacity, he has been a member of the EESC's Bureau. Over the course of three terms in office as president, Group III carried out nine studies, and held 42 conferences in 17 EU countries attended by thousands of people and countless meetings with European civil society organisations. He was nominated unanimously by Group III for the post of EESC's President for the April 2018 - September 2020 mandate. • President of the national council of ACLI, a Christian Associations of Italian Workers which promotes, through its network of local branches, services, enterprises and ad-hoc projects employment and active participation in social life (2008- 2012) • Founding member of the Italian Third Sector Forum • President of FOCSIV, the federation of development cooperation NGOs (1994 to 2000) • Active in the field of International cooperation, first with CISV (Comunità Impegno Servizio Volontariato, an Italian voluntary service organisation) in Turin and then with networks and associations of national and European NGOs (1980-2000) • Journalist, international political analyst • Expert in the field of associations for social advancement and the third sector, responsible for development programmes in Africa and elsewhere At the EESC, Mr Jahier has been rapporteur for many opinions, such as The prospects of the social economy in Africa, EU-Africa cooperation with China, Article 11(1) and 11(2) of the Lisbon Treaty, For a Social Dimension of European Economic and Monetary Union, Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations and Lisbon Treaty – EP Opinion.

Dr. ĽUBOŠ BLAHA

Chair of the European Affairs Committee of the National Council of the Slovak Republic

Ľuboš Blaha has been the Member of Parliament for the left-wing SMER party since April 2012. At the same time, he has been the Chairman of the European Affairs Committee of the National Council of the Slovak Republic. As a parliamentarian, he has been actively involved in the OSCE and Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly. In January 2018 he was elected Vice-President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly. Ľuboš Blaha has initiated a number of political science research projects at the Slovak Academy of Sciences revolving around embedding authentic research activities into the undergraduate curriculum. He is currently lecturing on history of political philosophy at the University of Cyril and Methodius in Trnava, Slovakia. He is a published author of several monographs: "Social Justice and Identity" (2006), "Back to Marx?" (2009 Slovak Literature Fund Award), “European Social Model – What’s Next?” (2014), to name a few. Ľuboš Blaha completed master degrees in Philosophy at the Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia in 2003, and in Political Sciences and International Relations at the University of Matej Bel, Banska Bystrica, Slovakia in 2004. He was awarded his PhD on theories of justice in modern egalitarianism and neo-Marxism in 2008 from the Department of Political Sciences, Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava, Slovakia.

TOMISLAV DONCHEV

Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria

Tomislav Donchev is a Bulgarian politician, former Mayor of the town Gabrovo, Minister of European Union Funds Management 2010-2013, member of Parliament, Member of the European Parliament and Deputy Prime Minister in the last two governments of Boyko Borissov. He has two Master’s degrees from the St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Turnovo - in philosophy and in business management. He graduated also from a second specialty in journalism. He specialized in political science in Poland as well as in high-tech small and medium-sized enterprises and research and development start-ups at the Institute in Negev, Israel. He completed a business mentoring course at the Business Mentoring Academy in Oxford, UK. During the years he worked in various non-governmental organizations in the field of education and science, he was a collaborator of a sociological research agency, a teacher, editor at Radio Gabrovo, as well as Executive Director of the High-tech Business Incubator Gabrovo organization.

DANA SPINANT

Director for Budget, Communication and General Affairs, DG REGIO, European Commission

Dana Spinant is director in charge of budget, communication and general affairs, at the European Commission's Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy since February 2017. Before that, she was head of unit in charge of irregular migration and return policy (2015 to February 2017) and head of unit in charge of drugs policy (2010-2015) at the European Commission. Before joining the Commission in 2009, Dana was a journalist and editor for various media as well as working in academia. She was the Editor of European Voice, a weekly newspaper focusing on EU matters belonging to The Economist Group, between 2004 and 2009, having starting to work for the newspaper as Deputy Editor in 2002. Before that she spent two years as deputy editor of Brussels-based news service EUobserver.com. In parallel, Dana worked, between 1998 and 2008, as political commentator for three Romanian TV stations – Antena 1, ProTV and Realitatea TV. She started her career in journalism in Bucharest, Romania, at TV5-TV Sigma in 1992, and moved on to join Antena 1 as Editor-in-Chief of the news department in 1996. In 1998-2001 Dana was also a teaching assistant at the College of Europe in Bruges, following her studies there. Dana studied journalism and communication at the University of Bucharest. She then obtained two masters degrees, from the Institut Européen des Hautes Etudes Internationales (Nice) and the College of Europe (Bruges). She speaks Romanian, French, English and German.

ISKRA MIHAYLOVA

Chair of the Committee on Regional Development (REGI) of the European Parliament

Iskra Mihaylova was born on September 7, 1957 in Sofia, Bulgaria. She has a rich career in the field of regional policy and cooperation with the EU. Her path in active politics began in 2001 when she was appointed adviser to the Minister for Regional Development. After the elections in 2005 in Bulgaria, Mihaylova continued her participation in regional policy as Deputy Minister until 2009. In the period 2009-2013 she was a Member of the 41st National Assembly and Chair of the Environment and Water Committee. She was also Member of the Committee on European Affairs and Oversight of the European Funds. From May 2013 to June 2014 Iskra Mihaylova was Minister of Environment and Water. She has participated in a number of international forums as a lecturer and as an official representative of Bulgaria - Minister, Deputy Minister, MEP, in EU Member States, USA, Israel, China, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Serbia, Macedonia /FYROM/ and others. For many years she has worked for the implementation of the European Cohesion Policy in Bulgaria and has been actively involved in the management and implementation of the Operational Programs "Regional Development" and "Environment" and in the Monitoring Committees for the Cross-Border Cooperation Programs. Since 01.07.2015 she has been a Member of the European Parliament with the group of "Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe". Currently Iskra Mihaylova is Chair of the Committee on Regional Development in the European Parliament (REGI). She is also Deputy Chair of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI). Iskra Mihaylova is Member of the Conference of Committee Chairs of the EP; of the Delegation to the EU-Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Joint Parliamentary Committee; of the Delegation to the EU-Armenia and EU-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Cooperation Committees and the EU-Georgia Parliamentary Association Committee, as well as of the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly.

FRANS TIMMERMANS

First Vice-President of the European Commission, Commissioner for Better Regulation, Interinstitutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights

Frans Timmermans holds a degree in French language and literature from the Radboud University Nijmegen.Mr. Timmermans attended Postgraduate courses in European Law and French Literature at the University of Nancy. He has been twice elected Member of the Dutch parliament and is former Minister of European Affairs and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. He has the following responsibilities within the European Commission: 1.Coordinating the work on better regulation within the EC, ensuring that every proposal respects the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, which are at the heart of the Commission's work; 2. Coordinating the Commission's work on the rule of law and ensuring that every Commission proposal and initiative complies with the Charter of Fundamental Rights; 3.Guiding the work of the Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality and the Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs; 4.Horizontal responsibility for sustainable development; 5. Overseeing the European Commission's relations with the other European institutions and promoting a new partnership with national Parliaments; 6. Coordinating the work on transparency.

Prof. Dr. DANUTA MARIA HÜBNER

Chair of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO), Еuropean Parliament

Danuta Hübner, Poland's first-ever European Commissioner, is one of her country's foremost economists and policymakers and has played a key role in the enlargement of the EU. Since July 2009 Ms. Hübner is a Member of the European Parliament. Currently she is the Chair of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs as well as member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Delegation for relations with the United States. She is also a member of the Brexit Steering Group in the European Parliament. In 2004 Professor Hübner was entrusted as European Commissioner with the trade, then the regional policy portfolio. Earlier her roles in Poland's Government have included Minister for European Affairs, Head of Office of the Committee for European Integration and Secretary of State for Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Minister for Industry and Trade and Minister Head of the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland.

BASTIAAN VAN APELDOORN

Chair of the Standing Committee on European Affairs of the Dutch Senate

Bastiaan VAN APELDOORN (1970) is Member of the Senate of the Dutch Parliament for the Socialist Party (SP). He was elected to the Senate in May 2015 and since October 2016 serves as Chair of the Standing Committee on European Affairs. In the Senate Van Apeldoorn is spokesperson for finance as well as for foreign affairs and defence for his party. In addition, he also serves as alternate member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Within the NATO PA he is a member of the Defence and Security Committee and the Sub-Committee on Transatlantic Defence and Security Co-operation. Next to his political career, Bastiaan van Apeldoorn is an International Relations scholar and political economist teaching and researching at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He studied political science and international relations at the University of Amsterdam and obtained his PhD in the social and political sciences with distinction in 1999 from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. He continued his academic career as a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany and gained a position at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 2000, where he is currently Reader in International Relations within the Department of Political Science and Public Administration. Since 2014 he is also Director of Studies for the Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes in Political Science. Bastiaan van Apeldoorn is a founding member of the Elite Power Investigations Centre (EPIC); a Research Leader of the Amsterdam Global Change Institute, and member of the International Advisory Board of the Critical Political Economy Research Network.

Prof. Dr. Jur. Sc. ATANAS SEMOV, LL.D

Professor at Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski” Jean Monnet Chair

Prof. LL.D. Atanas Semov was born on 23 March 1970 in Sofia. He graduated from the National School for Ancient Languages and Cultures. Atanas Semov is a Doctor of European Law with a dissertation entitled "Direct Effect and Primacy of European Union Law" (2007) and a Doctor of Laws with a dissertation on "The Court of Justice of the European Union" (2012). He is Associate Professor of European Law at the Sofia University (2010) and Head of the International Master's Degree Program in EU Law at the Sofia University. In 2012 he was awarded with Jean Monnet Chair of the EU – the first holder of the title from the Sofia University and second among Bulgarian lawyers after prof. Evgeni Tanchev. Former Vice-President of the 41st Bulgarian National Assembly, 2009-2010. Author of 7 books in European Union law and of more than 50 articles, he compiled 12 scientific collections in this field.

Prof. Dr. INGRID SHIKOVA

Professor at Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski”

Prof. Dr. Ingrid Shikova is one of the founders of the Department of European Studies at the Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski and head of Jean Monnet Center of Excellence. Her entire career is devoted to European integration. She was Director of the European Research Center and of the Information Center of the European Commission Delegation in Bulgaria. She worked as advisor to the Mission of the European Commission. She is member of the international team of lecturers "Team Europe". She is elected member of the Academic Council of the International Center for European Training in Nice, France. She has published numerous materials on matters of the European integration. Awarded with the blue stripe honorary sign of the Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski for her contribution to the development of European research in Bulgaria.

Amb. BISERKA BENISHEVA

Director for EU Affairs at PanEuropa Bulgaria

Ambassador Benisheva is a carrier diplomat with a profile on European affairs, currently working as a Director for EU Affairs at PanEuropa Bulgaria. She was Director (1997 - 2001) and Director General for EU Affairs (2007 - 2012) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, member of the core team negotiating association (1992) and accession (2000 - 2004) of Bulgaria to the European Union. Ambassador Benisheva was Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Bulgaria to Ireland (2003 - 2007) and to Hungary (2012-2016). She was also a President of the Danube Commission in her capacity of Ambassador to Hungary (2012 - 2014).

Prof. Dr. KATIA VLADIMIROVA

Professor at University of National and World Economy and New Bulgarian University

Professor Katia Vladimirova, Doctor of Economics Lecturer at the University of National and World Economy and New Bulgarian University, Sofia. Professor at the Institute for Population and Human Studies at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Guest Professor at the University of Toulouse "Le Mirail", (2010); University of Paris 8 (2001 -2003) and foreign researcher at IRESCO (CNRS) - France. Secretary General and Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (1995-1997); Head of Employment and Labour Market Directorate at the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (1991-1992). She has worked on a number of European, national and institutional projects in the fields of social policy, employment, the labour market, migration, labour rights and gender equality. She participates in international and national conferences and has numerous publications in the country and abroad in the mentioned areas. Katia Vladimirova is member of the Union of Scientists in Bulgaria and of the Scientific Council of the Center for Population and Human Studies at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Chairperson of the Foundation "Acad. Evgeni Mateev". She is former member of the Economic and Social Council of the People's Republic of Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Association for Human Resource Development and Management, scientific councils, former member of the editorial boards of the magazines “Population”, “Panorama of Labour”, “Human Resource Management”, etc. Member of the Monitoring Committee of the Rural Development Program 2007-2013.

MILENA MILOTINOVA

Journalist, TV host , “Bulgaria ON AIR” Former Member of the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria

Milena Milotinova presents the "Brussels 1" broadcast on the Bulgaria ON AIR national television. She has been a long-time presenter of the central news broadcast on the Bulgarian National Television (BNT), and then – on Bulgaria ON AIR television. She is author of several documentaries, which were awarded with professional and audience prizes. From 2001 to 2005 she was Member of Parliament and Chair of a Parliamentary Committee, as well as member of the delegation of the Bulgarian National Assembly to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Since the beginning of her career as a journalist she has been reporting key European and world events, and the “Brussels 1” broadcast focuses on European topics.

KIRIL VALCHEV

Journalist, Host of “The Week” political broadcast, Darik Radio

Kiril Valchev is the author of the Bulgarian National Darik Radio political weekly, which summarizes the most interesting of each past week with MPs, ministers, politologists, sociologists, people of science, education and culture. The collection of "52 weeks" has compiled his political essays, with which the "Week" begins every Saturday. In December every year he is the host of "The Year" - a 12-hour radio-marathon featuring Bulgaria's government and party leaders, part of which is the presentation of the results of the Politician and Event of the Year. As a radio correspondent he reports events around the world and has already been in 177 of 193 UN member states. He worked as a reporter in the Foreign Information Department of the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency. Kiril Valchev has graduated with distinction the National School of Ancient Languages and Cultures "St. Constantine Cyril Philosopher" and law at the Faculty of Law of the Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. As a lawyer he works mainly in the field of media law and intellectual property law. Author of publications in the field of constitutional and commercial law. He is Legal secretary of the Union of Bulgarian National Broadcasting Media, which includes national television and radio stations as well as BTA. He is former chairman of the National Commission on Ethics in Electronic Media.

IVELINA VASSILEVA

Chair of the Environment and Water Committee; Deputy Chairperson of the Committee on European Affairs and Oversight of the European Funds, National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria

Ivelina Vasileva is chairperson of the Environment and Water Committee and deputy chairperson of the Committee on European Affairs and Oversight of the European Funds at the National Assembly in the 44th National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria. She served as minister of environment and water from November 2014 to January 2017 in the second government of prime-minister Boyko Borisov. Ms. Vasileva was a member of the 42nd and 43rd National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria (May 2013 - November 2014). Previously, she served as deputy minister of environment and water in the first government of Mr. Boyko Borisov (2009-2013). Before that, she served as deputy mayor of EU integration and ecology in the municipality of Burgas (2007-2009). She is a specialist with rich experience in the management of European programs and projects.

IMREN MEHMEDOVA

Deputy Chairperson of the Committee on European Affairs and Oversight of the European Funds, National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria

Imren Ismetova Mehmedova began her political career as a municipal councilor in the municipality of Targovishte. After that she became Regional Chairperson of the Youth Movement for Rights and Freedoms in Targovishte. Imren Ismetova Mehmedova is a district Chairperson of the Livestock Council in the Targovishte District of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. Imren Ismetova Mehmedova is member of the board of the Association for Breeding the Black-pied Cattle Breed in Bulgaria at the Control Board of the National Cattle Union. She is a graduate of Finance, she has worked in the field of agriculture. She was elected Member of Parliament at the 44th National Assembly representing 23 constituency Targovishte from the list of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Deputy Chairperson of the Committee on European Affairs and Oversight of the European Funds. She is member of the delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

POLINA TSANKOVA-HRISTOVA

Member of the Committee on European Affairs and Oversight of the European Funds, National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria

POLINA TSANKOVA is Deputy chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee and member of the Committee on European Affairs and Oversight of the European Funds at the 44th National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria. She is also Deputy chair of the most recently created parliamentary group of Political Party Volya. She has good experience in the field of implementation of innovative energy efficient projects for public lighting, public buildings and offices. She has a long-standing practice in the introduction of renewable energy sources in projects aimed at protecting the environment.

PETAR PETROV

Deputy Chairman of the Committee on European Affairs and Oversight of the European Funds, National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria

Petar Petrov is an engineer. He is member of political party National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria. His political engagements include expertise in the filed of European projects and rural development. He is elected Member of Parliament at the 43rd and 44th National Assembly. Former member of the Committee on Agriculture and Foods. Presently at the 44th National Assembly he is Deputy Chair of the Committee on European Affairs and Oversight of the European Funds; member of the Environment and Water Committee. Petar Petrov is Chairperson of the Bulgaria – Montenegro parliamentary friendship group and Deputy Chairperson of the Bulgaria – Austria friendship group. He is substitute member of the Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

MARCEL HAAG

Director, Policy Co-ordination, I Directorate, Secretariat General, European Commission

Marcel Haag studied law at the universities of Freiburg, Bonn, Strasbourg and at the EUI in Florence and qualified as a judge in Düsseldorf. After a short stint in business he joined the European Commission and worked in different Commission services. He was appointed Head of Unit in the Commission's Secretariat General in 2005 and served as Head of several policy units. He is currently Director of a Directorate for policy coordination in the Secretariat General.

MICHIEL RIJSBERMAN

Regional Minister of the Province of Flevoland, Rapporteur on European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

Michiel Rijsberman is the Regional Minister of the Province of Flevoland responsible for European Affairs. Michiel Rijsberman is alternate Member of the Committee of the Regions. Within the COTER commission he is the ALDE spokesperson for Cohesion Policy and the EU Multiannual Financial Framework. He was the rapporteur on “the financial rules applicable to the EU budget” and “Energy efficiency in buildings” within the EU Energy Package. At present, he is rapporteur on the ERDF and Cohesion Fund Regulation. Rijsberman is also Member of the General Board of the Assembly of European Regions and AER rapporteur on Cohesion Policy. Michiel graduated in 1995 at TU Delft as a civil engineer (integrated water management). He has worked as an independent advisor and interim manager in water management and sewerage for municipalities. Until 2015 Michiel worked as a senior policy-advisor on water management at the Hoogheemraadschap of Delfland. Michiel started his political career as a Member of the parliament of Flevoland from March 2011 until May 2015. He was chairman of the Flevoland social liberal political group D66, member of the committee on European Affairs and chairman of the Oostvaarderswold investigative committee. Since May 2015, he is a Member of the Executive Board of the Province of Flevoland for the D66 political party. He is responsible for tourism and recreation, art and culture, European affairs, Interreg programmes, administrative reform and the nature areas Markermeer/IJmeer and Oostvaardersplassen.

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