The European Commission Vice-President and Commissioner on Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration Maroš Šefčovič met with the President of the Bulgarian National Assembly Tsetska Tsacheva and was greeted in the plenary hall. He is paying a visit to Bulgaria on the invitation of Monika Panayotova, Chair of the parliamentary Committee on European Affairs.
Commissioner Šefčovič was invited to the National Assembly to present the 2012 Annual Work Programme of the European Commission to the chairs and deputy chairs of parliamentary committees.
In a statement for the media the Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner on Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration stated that Bulgaria has fulfilled the criteria for the Schengen area membership and have had to be admitted already.
With regard to the EC interim report on Bulgaria’s Schengen membership he noticed that it provides the technical assessment, as for the political one it is due to be prepared by July 2012. In his view the report documents the current state of the situation as well as the progress made in the last six months. He said the report contains also recommendations to the parliament and the government for the measures that should be undertaken in the following months. “We highly appreciate the progress made by Bulgaria so far and would like to encourage it future work by sharing the position of the Bulgarian side that the report should contain useful advices” Šefčovič remarked. He declared the readiness of the European Commission to help Bulgaria, so as to reach a positive report in July.
Maroš Šefčovič praised the work of the parliamentary European Affairs Committee for the opinions prepared and forwarded by it on the legislative proposals of the European Parliament.
Monika Panayotova noted that the past 2011 has been a great success, Bulgaria’s National Assembly had provided opinions on 21 draft legislative acts, proposed by the Commission and had exercised its right to disagree and say “no” to some proposals. She added that so far the Bulgarian parliament had implemented more than 70 % of its Annual Work Programme on European affairs.
Commissioner Šefčovič stated the importance of the cooperation between the Bulgarian parliament and the Commission will grow, in line with the new concept for economic governance of the EU, where the responsibilities should be shared. He underscored that it means an entire new way of cooperation.
The meeting - discussion between the European Commissioner and the chairs and deputy chairs of parliamentary committees was opened by the President of the National Assembly Tsetska Tsacheva. In her view the visit of Commissioner Šefčovič, who also praised the relations of Bulgaria with the European institutions, is a sign of the deepen collaboration between the Bulgarian parliament and the European Commission.
The Speaker of the Bulgarian parliament noted that the presentation of the EC annual work programme had become an important routine, providing the Bulgarian parliament and state with the opportunity to outline in advance and work on the issues on the European agenda that correspond to the national interests and are priorities of Bulgaria. “I hope that in 2012 we will be able to show that the joint efforts of the European institutions and the national parliaments would bring the result expected by every citizen of the big European family” Tsetska Tsacheva added.
At the meeting, topics of detailed discussion were the scope of the crisis in Europe, the policies for growth enhancement, solutions for the youth’s unemployment and the ACTA trade agreement.
The meeting was attended by the ambassadors of the EU Member States.