The future of the EU was a subject of discussion at the National Palace of Culture. It was the first meeting of that kind within the frameworks of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of EU, where the options and challenges that would be faced by our European family were discussed. Vice President Iliana Yotova, MEPs Andrey Kovachev and Elmar Brok, alongside their former colleagues Ivaylo Kalfin and Evgeni Kirilov presented their views on the subject named “All Routes Lead to Europe? Perspectives for a Federal Union”. According to Vice President Yotova:
“Bulgaria will fulfill its commitments as a President of the Council of the EU, but it is important for us all the decisions taken over these six months to become part of the big project on the future development of Europe. At the same time this all makes sense only if we have a vision on our path. We need a talk on the lack of courage at the making of important political decisions. We also have to talk of how we have isolated the European institutions, having pushed them away from people and thus having made them even more abstract to them.”
The vice president underlined that the inclusion of the Western Balkans to our priorities as President-country of the Council of the EU was an essential and brave political move. At the same time the March meeting due to take place in Varna between European leaders and Turkish President Recep Erdogan won’t be just another protocol visit of a world leader to this country. The talk will be amidst the most complicated ones that the Bulgarian premier would have by the end of Bulgaria’s EU Presidency.
All the participants in the discussion were unanimous in regard to Bulgaria and Romania’s Schengen membership. According to them, this issue’s lagging behind is due to political and populist reasons, outlined by Holland while trying to secure itself. MEP Andrey Kovachev declared that all the member-states should work for a stronger and more unified EU with shared sovereignty. He outlined the opposition of some leaders against the possibility for a strong foreign policy of the Union. This transpires from the statements of some leaders of member-states, who seem to disagree with the policy conducted by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Federica Mogherini. Former MEP Evgeni Kirilov reminded that the EU had been established in order to restore peace on the Continent. That is why it is essential to continue working for its effectiveness, despite the partial loss of its attractiveness due to the numerous crises.
In his speech Deputy Foreign Minister Georg Georgiev drew attention to the importance of the correct messages to be sent by the politicians to the EU citizens. Those are the best way to cope with the growing mistrust towards common European policies and Euroskepticism.
“The Bulgarian state has never supported and expressed concerns about any separatist actions which might ruin the Union’s integrity. At the same time when we realize the existence of that kind of phenomena, we need to find out the reasons for their origin. What has pushed politicians, born and grown up in the EU to have their doubts about its integrity? Bulgaria and its government show that they not only work to support a strong union, but that they can also display real results in that direction. Ever since our accession in 2007 we have had this sustainable policy of discipline. We have proven that sustainability by overcoming the worst financial and economic crisis and also by turning the external border of the EU into the safest one.”
Georgiev further said that the institutions representing the member-states had the great responsibility for their messages to reach every citizen in the best way possible. In case this fails, a gap would appear between the citizens and the institutions, as not everyone understands the meaning of European unification. His thesis was upheld by President of the Union of European Federalists Elmar Brok who underlined that the EU needed the support of the citizens, in order for the European project to be a success.
English version: Zhivko Stanchev