Two Bulgarian ministers - Mr Emil Karanikolov, Minister for the Economy, and Ms Monika Panayotova, Deputy Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU -presented today the Presidency priorities in their areas of responsibility before two committees of the European parliament - International Trade (INTA) and Constitutional Affairs (AFCO).
Mr Karanikolov, Minister for the Economy, said: “Trade policy is mainly oriented towards enhancement of the European economy’s competitiveness, as it contributes to economic growth and job creation. This is why it is a priority for our Presidency. The European Parliament is an important and close partner of the Council in the area of trade. For this reason, we will rely on a beneficial cooperation in finding suitable solutions and achieving common objectives.”
In his address, Mr Karanikolov said that in the area of trade the Presidency would aim to:
-Enhance the World Trade Organisation’s credibility and strengthen the multilateral trading system
-Preserve the EU's leadership role in multilateral and plurilateral arrangements in the area of investments and trade in goods and services
-Build on the progress made in ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with priority third countries and regions, and take the work forward
-Make progress and, if possible, reach a Council negotiating position on the new draft regulation for a framework for screening foreign direct investments in the EU
-Resume the discussions on an international public procurement instrument
-Work towards an agreement on rules to better control the export of dual-use items
The full statement by Mr Karanikolov is available here:
Ms Panayotova, Deputy Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, said: “The Bulgarian Presidency shares the ambition of the European Parliament to bring citizens closer to the heart of the European Union. We are fully committed to working intensively and constructively to deliver concrete results. To achieve this, we count on fruitful cooperation with the members of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs in particular. I hope that our joint efforts during this semester will enable European citizens to see the European Union with new eyes and will help create a more united and stronger Europe.”
In the AFCO area of responsibility, Bulgaria will work to:
-Make sure that citizens have a say in EU policy-making. To this end, the Presidency will aim to achieve tangible progress in the work on the European Citizens’ Initiative legislative proposal
-Make the interactions between interest representatives and the EU institutions even more transparent. To achieve this, the Presidency will spare no effort to take the work on the Interinstitutional Agreement on the Transparency Register forward
-Make the EU more visible for the citizens and strengthen their sense of ownership of the EU project. For this, the Presidency will work on the new rules for the statute and funding of European Political Parties and European Political Foundations
Other files of importance for the Bulgarian Presidency include the date for the 2019 EP elections, the reform of the European electoral law, and the composition of the European Parliament, Ms Panayotova said.
The full statement by Ms Panayotova is available here.
A video presenting the Presidency priorities is here.
Emil Karanikolov and Monika Panayotova were the second pair of ministers to take the stage in the context of the traditional priorities presentations at the start of each Presidency of the Council of the EU. They followed their colleagues Tsetska Tsacheva and Valentin Radev, who spoke before representatives of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on 11 January. The other ministers, who, in the next six months, will be chairing Council configurations, will follow between 23 and 25 January. The detailed schedule is available online.