Parliamentary scrutiny will increase the democratic legitimacy of Europol, said National Assembly President Tsveta Karayancheva, who welcomed the participants in the meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group on Europol tonight. The forum, which will be opened tomorrow at the National Palace of Culture, is the fourth event of the Parliamentary Dimension of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU. Its host is the Committee on Internal Security and Public Order of the National Assembly.
Parliamentary control will provide to citizens a guarantee that their rights are protected and that there will be credible mechanisms for them to be informed about work done in the security sector and about the activities of Europol, Tsveta Karayancheva said. She added that this is the only form of oversight of the functioning of Europol by the European Parliament, along with national parliaments.
As President of the National Assembly Tsveta Karayancheva noted the great importance of the control functions of each parliament for the democratic societies. She pointed out that this fundamental function of the legislative institutions directly concerns European citizens - those who elect them and to whom they are responsible.
The Chairman of the Committee on Internal Security and Public Order Tsvetan Tsvetanov welcomed in Sofia more than 130 MPs from the national parliaments, who will tomorrow participate in the meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group on Europol. He thanked the Chairman of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament, Claude Moraes, with whom he will co-chair the forum, for the efforts made in recent months to seek political consensus on the subject of rules of procedure for parliamentary scrutiny and inclusion of the Western Balkans topic in the Europol Multiannual Programming 2019-2021. At the end of his speech, Tsvetan Tsvetanov called on parliamentarians to have consensus as a guide in their work in the name of Europe and for the purpose of overcoming the new challenges facing the Union.
The Chairman of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in the European Parliament Claude Moraes thanked the Bulgarian Parliament for the excellent organization of the events from the Parliamentary Dimension of the Bulgarian Presidency. If tomorrow we reach a consensus on the parliamentary rules of procedure by national parliaments and the European Parliament, this will be a historic stage in the work of the joint group and the development of parliamentary scrutiny, he said. Europol has proved to be the most successful European agency, and the great merit for this is of the long-standing effort of its director Rob Wainwright, his team and agency staff, whom we congratulate, added Claude Moraes.
Our main task tomorrow will be to adopt good parliamentary scrutiny rules of procedure in order to guarantee to European citizens success in fighting organized crime and all other threats, Moraes said.
The Minister of Interior Mr. Valentin Radev called on parliamentarians and the Europol team to help the countries of the Western Balkans, and this task should be set in the next multiannual programming of Europol 2019-2021. This support is crucial for the fight of the countries in the region against organized crime and terrorism, Minister Radev stressed. He also called for Europol's support to countries that are external borders of the EU. Bulgaria is doing an excellent job in safeguarding the external border and this is reflected in Frontex assessments, but support on part of Europol both to Bulgaria and to the rest of the countries protecting the external borders of the Union, is important for the successful implementation of activities on guarding the EU's external borders, Valentin Radev noted.
Students from the National School of Folk Arts “Shiroka Luka” greeted guests of the forum with a folk performance.