Three months have passed since the start of the first for this country Presidency of the Council of the EU – 62 days, full of high level meetings and numerous sittings of working groups in Sofia, Brussels and Strasbourg. Minister of the Bulgarian Presidency Lilyana Pavlova reported the work done so far at a press conference, held at the National Palace of Culture and outlined the visible benefits for the EU citizens:
“Today we can report over 1,000 sittings in Sofia, Brussels and Strasbourg, also 22 Councils of Ministers. In Sofia the calendar has more than 320 events, 100 of those already a fact. One of our pride facts is the adoption of the Europol regulation within one of the parliamentary meetings. The adoption of the posted workers’ directive was another major step in the development of the union. We adopted decisions in the spheres of environment and climate, related to monitoring of vehicles’ carbon emissions, as well as to the directive on buildings’ energy efficiency. We also completed work on a regulation, which had been adopted during the Estonian presidency and which had been related to geographical blocking. Its implementation as of December 1st will allow to the citizens of the union to shop online products at any European website, without being redirected to other web pages, offering goods at unfavorable prices.”
Minister Pavlova also pointed to several other suggestions, which are important to the citizens. Some of those have already been adopted as decisions by the financial ministers of the member-states; for instance – the regulation obliging the tax offices of the EU member-states to exchange information in cases of financial frauds or VAT evasion & siphon off.
The leading for Bulgaria priority on the future of the Western Balkans has being worked hard on as well. However, our task is not only to set an exact date for their EU accession, but also to show to their citizens the benefits of being part of the European family. They will feel those once the transport, energy and digital interconnectivity between the Balkan states has been put through. Thus we will guarantee their right to access to cheaper and more diverse energy sources, cheaper transport infrastructure, better business opportunities, cheaper phone talks and broadband Internet, the minister of the Bulgarian EU Presidency further pointed out. As far as the forthcoming summit on May 17 was concerned and the signals that some member-states might boycott it due to Kosovo’s presence, Pavlova stated that it was important the meeting to take place in the name of Europe’s better future. A Sofia Declaration is expected to be adopted at its end, containing all the decisions taken during the talks and also concrete commitments of the EU for investments and development of the region.
English version: Zhivko Stanchev