Last week the National Palace of Culture in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia hosted the meeting of the EU Ministers of Interior and Ministers of Justice. EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Vera Jourova and EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos took part at the forum. A series of topics, including the reform in the Common European Asylum System (SEAS), the security of the European citizens, etc, were in the focus of discussions during the two-day forum. Here is what Bulgaria’s Minister of Interior Valentin Radev said in relation to the reform of the Common European Asylum System:
“We offer a reform of the so-called Dublin Regulation. Many sittings have been held until now and no concrete decision was taken. However, we have to take a decision on this topic by the end of June this year. We have been examining the regulation text by text. We do not want to fix our eyes on what has been dividing us, but find a solution which is shared by all members of the European Union instead. Of course, we have to persuade several countries during our rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union that their support is important.
Minister Radev underlined that a significant progress in the reduction of the migration flow from Turkey to Bulgaria was registered due to the good relations between Premier Borissov and Turkey’s President Erdogan. Minister Radev reminded that in 2015 the number of migrants who entered Bulgaria from its southern neighbor amounted to nearly 90,000 and last year only 9,000 migrants crossed the Turkey-Bulgaria border.
According to Commissioner Avramopoulos, the reform of the Dublin Regulation is of key significance for the European Union, because it would regulate the number of refugees each country has to receive, monitor the distribution of the refugees in the union and prevent irregular secondary movements of refugees within the EU. In his view, it is unacceptable for some countries to refuse to accept refugees.
The second day of the meeting was dedicated to a discussion about the establishment of a European Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Brussels ІІА Regulation which would help solve cross-border disputes about parental rights and assist the common European policy in cases of international trafficking of children.
In regards to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office- it is expected to have its own budget within the next few months. The new structure will deal with frauds related to funds from the budget of the EU and is to start functioning by the end of 2020. The issue related to the possible ratification of the Istanbul Convention at the Bulgarian National Assembly and the polar reactions it caused among the Bulgarian society was discussed during the meeting in Sofia between Bulgaria’s Minister of Justice Tsetska Tsacheva and Commissioner Jourova. Commissioner Jourova said she was ready to discuss the topic with Bulgarian MPs and voiced hopes that the document would be eventually ratified at the Bulgarian Parliament. Meanwhile, following discussions between Premier Borissov and the United Patriots last Wednesday it became clear that the ratification of the Istanbul Convention will be postponed until a public debate is held and until the Bulgarian society is sure that the ratification of this convention is the best decision.
Written by: Yoan Kolev
English version: Kostadin Atanasov