The 44th National Assembly will actively participate in the discussion on the future of the European Union, said Speaker of Parliament Tsveta Karayancheva. President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and members of the European Commission had talks with members of the Presidential Council of the National Assembly and chairs of the parliamentary groups and committees.
Today, more than ever, united Europe needs security, stability, economic growth, social cohesion, good future for young people, more jobs, competitiveness and a developed digital market, emphasised Tsveta Karayncheva.
The Speaker of Parliament said that the Parliamentary Dimension of the Bulgarian Presidency provided and excellent opportunity for the Parliament’s active participation in the European agenda. After the Lisbon Treaty, which expanded the role of the national parliaments in the rotating presidency, the Bulgarian Parliament’s contribution to the debate on the necessary reforms in the EU, in line with the principle of subsidiarity, is of key significance, added Tsveta Karayancheva.
The National Assembly has stated many times its preparedness and has been implementing its policy towards consensus and unity of action between the political parties represented in parliament, said Tsveta Karayancheva. We support the priorities announced in Bulgaria’s programme for the presidency of the Council of the EU and share its key messages: consensus, competitiveness and cohesion, she added.
Chair of GERB parliamentary group Tsvetan Tsvetanov expressed his appreciation that the opening of the Bulgarian Presidency the previous day had given a clear sign that Bulgaria was part of a strong and united Europe. He said that the Bulgarian Parliament supported the priorities of the presidency and emphasised that they provided an opportunity for the development of the region and Bulgaria. The EU prospect for the Western Balkan states means security not only for the region, but for the whole EU, said Tsvetan Tsvetanov.
Chair of BSP for Bulgaria parliamentary group Kornelia Ninova said that the presidency was a priority for all political parties in Bulgaria and that there was an agreement on the prioritisation of the common interests of the Union and the country. She said that two issues were particularly important for the Bulgarian socialists: the cohesion policy and the implementation of the social pillar as one of the ways to tackle inequalities and solve the problems of unemployment and career development of young people.
Chair of United Patriots parliamentary group Volen Siderov said that Bulgaria was very important for Europe and its presidency of the Council of the EU could contribute to the development of the EU. He expressed his confidence that positive results would be achieved in the six months of the presidency. In his words, Europe should decide what it wants to be, whether there should be differences between wages, and whether there should be first-hand and second-hand people and countries.
Chair of MRF parliamentary group Mustafa Karadayi said that the Bulgarian Presidency was the most important political event in 2018 for the MRF. The Balkans are a special region and any attempt to play with nationalism is dangerous, he said. All political forces should make efforts to turn the region into a safe zone, free from ethno-nationalism, emphasised Mustafa Karadayi. In his words, Bulgaria has a good experience and a model that will guarantee peace, unity and prosperity.
Deputy Speaker of Parliament and leader of VOLYA political party Veselin Mareshki said that he had the smallest group in Parliament and the only one which had never participated in government, which was its biggest advantage. We have only one goal: to improve the living standard of Bulgarian citizens and bring it close to that of the wealthy European countries, he added.
Chair of the Foreign Policy Committee Dzhema Grozdanova said that Bulgaria’s position with regard to the accession of the Western Balkans was that those countries should join the EU once they had fulfilled all criteria and as a result of the assessment of their achievements. In her words, as soon as a country is ready, it can become a member state even before 2025.
Chair of the Committee on European Affairs and Oversight of the European Funds Kristian Vigenin said that the priorities of the presidency had been drafted with the active involvement of all parliamentary committees and groups. Hea also said that the presidency had helped the National Assembly tackle the issues of the European agenda and take a more important role in the decision-making process.
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker expressed his confidence that the Bulgarian Presidency would address the challenges in the best way. He said that there were no first-hand or second-hand states or citizens of the European Union. All countries and nations have the same dignity and there should be no dividing lines, he added.
EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini mentioned the role of national parliaments in the efforts towards the implementation of the objectives of the presidency. We can achieve a lot, only if we act together, she emphasised.