“The Future of the European Union: strength in unity” was the topic in the second session of the COSAC Chairpersons’ meeting in Sofia. The event marked the beginning of the Parliamentary Dimension of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Bulgarian Vice President Iliana Iotova addressed the organisers of the conference. In her words, the discussion is timely and concerns the most topical and burning issues relevant to all EU member states. We have to be aware that the Bulgarian Presidency comes at the end of a very important mandate for the EU institutions, and its success will have an impact on the success of all EU member states, said the Vice President. Iliana Iotova said that it would be measured by the concrete results in security, funding the EU in the context of Brexit, the process of separation with the UK, and bringing back Europe to the international arena. In her words, the Bulgarian Presidency enters those months with its strong and active positions.
With its priority on the EU prospect for the Western Balkans, Bulgaria focused the attention on the region, said Iliana Iotova. She added that its stability would mean stability for the whole European Union. Today’s discussion will put on the table issues that concern all European citizens, said the Vice President.
First Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans wished success to the Bulgarian Presidency in what he called very difficult times. I share the complete trust and confidence of the European Commission in the ability of the Bulgarian Presidency to be one of the most successful presidencies in the mandate of the current Commission, he said.
In his words, the problems that have to solved by the EU institutions are related to the challenges we face and the undelivered promise for cohesion, which undermines trust among EU member states. The fourth industrial revolution, which is the first in human history to affect all parts of the world at the same time and all people, the geo-strategic environment and migration are some of the challenges that he addressed in his speech.
Many EU citizens hold the opinion that they are no longer able to control their own destinies, said Frans Timmermans. Only if we embrace the future as a time of potential development and growth, will we be able to move on, he thinks. If we are so in love with a mythological past, we will miss opportunities to build a better future for our societies, our children, added the First Vice President of the European Commission. He also mentioned the significance of national parliaments for building the future and restoring confidence in politics. In his words, counting on your neighbours means that they are source of trust, strength and prosperity.
Chair of EP Regional Development Committee Iskra Mihaylova presented before the participants in the meeting the positions and work of the Committee with regard to the future of the Union. Our work is guided by our firm conviction that only united we can be stronger and more successful, emphasised Iskra Mihaylova. Our task is to bring the EU closer and make it more understandable for its citizens, because the close connection between citizens and EU policies and institutions creates a foundation for its future, she added. Iskra Mihaylova mentioned the need of quick action to ensure security, protection of EU citizens and European borders as regards the management of migration processes, investment outside the EU, environmental problems and climate change.
She expressed the firm support of the European Parliament for the European values and said that it would continue to work actively in order to get closer to the citizens. In her words, the common success is due to the good coordination with the European Commission.
Iskra Mihaylova said that the European Parliament expected the European Commission’s proposal on the new financial framework for the period after 2020, which would not be just financial but also a draft model for policies. I am confident that only our united efforts will bring success and a better future for the Union’s citizens, said the Chair of EP Regional Development Committee.