The SEECP Parliamentary Assembly is already visible among European institutions and this is the result of the efforts of all of us as parliamentarians, noted the President of the National Assembly Tsetska Tsacheva, who is also President of SEECP PA, to the participants in the Third Plenary Session of the organisation in Sofia.
Cooperation between SEECP PA and the European Parliament, internal institutional strengthening of the Assembly and the initiative for development of cooperation among universities in the region were among the main priorities of the Bulgarian Chairmanship of the organisation, noted Tsetska Tsacheva. She pointed out that the chairperson of the committee on foreign affairs of the European Parliament Elmar Brok had acknowledged the need of active cooperation between the committee and SEECP PA in key areas such as democracy, human rights, the rule of law, European integration of the region, etc. Our Assembly is included in the extended format initiated by the committee for consultations, along with PACE and OSCE PA to discuss a wider interparliamentary cooperation, underlined Tsetska Tsacheva. In her words, since SEECP PA has its place along organisations with long-term history, the Assembly is already visible among European institutions. This success is the result of the efforts of all national delegations, of all of us as a Parliamentary Assembly, because only when we speak as a single voice about the problems in the region, will our voice be stronger and better heard and will have relevant response by European institutions, the President of the National Assembly added.
Another major priority for the Bulgarian Chairmanship was to meet the expectations of the parliaments for further intrainstitutional strengthening of the Assembly, the President of the National Assembly said. We had a debate on the legal status of the Assembly and its secretariat, on designing rules for budget formation and financial management, designing a regulation for selection and appointment of employees, she specified and added that discussion of these issues will continue in the next year.
At the meeting of the Committee on Social Cooperation, Education, Science and Research in Tirana the Bulgarian parliament launched the initiative for development of cooperation among universities in the region, which was shared and supported by the Committee, noted Tsetska Tsacheva. We suggested establishing a network for active exchange of students and teachers, so as to build an environment of full expertise development and regional cooperation experience, she specified.
According to the Bulgarian deputy Georgi Pirinski, the meeting of SEECP PA plays an important role as the European Union is aware that it can develop only if different regions it are developing. South East Europe lags behind in regional networking in the areas of infrastructure, energy cooperation and other fields in which Central Europe has a higher level of integration, he noted. In his words, the decisions adopted at SEECP PA mark very important practical steps for the formation of South East Europe as a European region.
Parliamentarians from 12 countries took part in the Third Plenary Session of SEECP PA, including representatives of the parliaments of Slovenia, Macedonia and Kosovo. The main subject of the forum was “20 Years South East European Cooperation Process: the region of new realities and shared perspectives”. Statements on it were made by parliamentarians from Tirana, Zagreb, Ankara, Athens, Bucharest, Chisinau, Ljubljana, Podgorica, Pristina, Skopje, and Sarajevo.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the South East European Cooperation Process and the European Union should join forces for a more active communication in implementing reforms that ensure stability, democracy, the rule of law, and neighbourly relations. These were the messages of the participants in the Third Plenary Session of SEECP PA in their final declaration adopted on 11 June 2016 in Sofia.
The SEECP parliamentarians are making an appeal to the European institutions to work jointly for addressing the migration pressure in Europe by strengthening the regional dialogue and cooperation while fully involving the most affected countries in the region in the efforts with a view to finding a commonly acceptable solution.
The final document urges the parliaments of SEECP participants to actively work for developing the Assembly into a wide platform of parliamentary cooperation, fostering the formulation and application of EU relevant policies based on good practices. The parliamentarians agreed on the need for a regular exchange of information and opinions on topical issues of the international political agenda and on the design and publication of common positions of the Assembly.
The participants in the Third Plenary Session of SEECP PA adopted the reports of the Economy, infrastructure and energy committee, and Justice, internal affairs and security cooperation committee.
When presenting the report, the chairperson of the Economy, infrastructure and energy committee Diana Yordanova noted that improvement of the infrastructure in South East Europe and acceleration of priority projects are extremely important for the region. The document emphasizes that all countries in the region share the understanding that infrastructure and energy connectivity are particularly important for its economic growth.
With the Plenary Session of SEECP PA in Sofia the Bulgarian Chairmanship of the organisation ended. Within its framework, steps have been taken to strengthen cooperation between SEECP PA and the European Parliament and for establishing a permanent mechanism for interaction between the two organisations. Among the priorities of the Bulgarian Chairmanship were energy and transport connectivity of the countries from South East Europe, aligning the legislations of the national parliaments with the EU law, and migration processes in view of the need for a legislative framework for migration and counter-terrorism.