After the first month of the Bulgarian EU Council Presidency, ALDE Party and FNF’s European Dialogue Programme hosted their traditional liberal breakfast on the ongoing presidency in presence of the speakers Ilhan Kyuchyuk and Iskra Mihaylova, MEPs of the Bulgarian ALDE member “Movement for Rights and Freedoms”.
Iskra Mihaylova gave an insight into the countries’ main priorities during the upcoming month. Taking over the Council presidency for the first time, Bulgaria aims to work on economic growth and social cohesion, security and stability in Europe, digital economy and skills as well as deepening relations between the EU and the Western Balkans.
Although overall supportive of the announced Presidency programme, Ms Mihaylova expressed concerns about a lack of genuine reforms foreseen by the Bulgarian government which would induce real change rather than maintaining the status quo.
ALDE Vice-President Ilhan Kyuchyuk underlined the importance of offering a tangible European perspective to the Western Balkans. Being a specific priority of the Bulgarian presidency, his country intends to show to the Western Balkan neighbours that the EU does not forget about them. However, such an approach shall be conditional and thus be based on merits. Ilhan Kyuchyuk reminded the audience that, just as Bulgaria, the countries of the Western Balkan underwent ethnic cleansing and that those conflicts from the past could be overcome through further connection with the EU. He also stressed that further cooperation and connectivity towards the EU could take various forms, for example in matters of education, economy or telecommunications with a gradual adoption of the EU roaming rules.
Find out more about the Bulgarian position in Ilhan’s statement below:
In the end, the floor was given to questions from the audience showing great interest into the topic. The various questions touched upon the EU as a global actor, the role of culture for the Bulgarian presidency as well as the future speed of European integration.
Carmen Gerstenmeyer, European Affairs Manager, European Dialogue Programme