“The Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU and its Parliamentary Dimension are a real success”, pointed out the First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans at a press conference after the Plenary meeting of the Conference of the EU Parliamentary Committees on European Affairs in Sofia. The forum was the closing event of the Parliamentary Dimension of the Bulgarian EU Presidency.
The discussions held during the meeting, according to Frans Timmermans, provided an opportunity to build on and were an important step for increasing the role of national parliaments in the EU decision-making process. “Without the involvement of national parliaments, it will be difficult to build support in the Member States for policies that are made within the EU”, he stated. “The challenge for us, Europeans, is to show that we are united”, stressed Frans Timmermans and added that today's meeting was a key event.
“Bulgaria is one of the countries that showed tremendous solidarity, responsibility and determination regarding the migration problem”, underlined the First Vice-President of the European Commission.
The Chairman of the Committee on European Affairs and Oversight of the European Funds Kristian Vigenin announced that the final document of the forum reflected the Bulgarian positions, which were adopted as benchmarks last year. According to him, the language regarding the enlargement and the engagement of the EU with the Western Balkans sounded even more positive than the Sofia Declaration. “This gives us reason to believe that since May we have built upon and we have directed the focus of attention of European countries and institutions” he said. In his words, the delegates firmly stand behind the European perspective of the Western Balkans.
“The Austrian, Croatian and Romanian delegates confirmed that it remains a top priority for them and the upgrade would continue, in which we will actively participate” emphasized Kristian Vigenin.
“We came to a text that the new challenges and tasks facing the EU are not and should not be funded at the expense of the Cohesion Policy” said the Chairman of the European Affairs Committee. “The basis on which we step after this meeting is very important for the debates that are held at European level and between Member States” he added. “We also agreed that in the next programming period the Cohesion Policy must overcome some of the existing problems and shortcomings” said also Kristinan Vigenin.
The meeting was attended by 250 parliamentarians, over 120 statements were made, each of them carrying its own message.