A year after the election of members of the new European Parliament and half a year since the Juncker Commission started its work we made a revision on the achievements of key priorities of the Program for employment, growth, justice and democratic change of the chairperson of the European Commission identifying the main points of progress and focusing on the next steps in overcoming the main challenges before the economic ‘restart’ in Europe, foreign policy and security.
At the event we discussed the issues related to the economic growth in Europe, the progress of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), building the Energy Union and the Digital Single Market. We also focused on the European agenda on migration and the role of the European Union on the world stage as we discussed the challenges and opportunities related to migration waves, the enlargement, relations with Russia, strengthening the security on the external EU borders, radical Islam and its related threats.
For full video from the discussion, please click HERE (in Bulgarian)
Head of the Delegation of the European Commission in Bulgaria, noted that the European Commission pays special attention to Bulgaria and that regular visits from the European commissionaires put our country in the centre of public attention. In the context of the priorities marked at the discussion, Sasha Bezuhanova, founder of MOVE.BG, identified the Bulgarian potential within building the Digital Single Market: ‘Bulgaria has a substantial perspective to benefit from the opportunities which a market with common standards provides for the IT industry as well as for improving the exposition of Bulgarian products in Europe.’ At the same time, having in mind the problematic situation in which the new European Commission started its work, Lubov Panayotova, Head of the European Institute, raised the issue about the need to build a common and unified strategy for coping with all urgent issues in the EU.
The focus of the first discussion panel ‘Economic restart in Europe: challenges and priorities’ was on three economic priorities of the EU – the Energy Union, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Digital Single Market. In a video comment Svetoslav Malinov, Bulgarian representative in the European Parliament from the group of the European People’s Party, stressed on the fact that the Energy Union is the main priority which contains the solution to many others including the youth unemployment issue. Martin Vladimirov, expert on international and energy security, added that the energy union would be of highest importance for the countries from Southeast Europe, including Bulgaria, as these are the countries with the lowest energy effectiveness.
Bulgarian representative in the European Parliament from the group of the European People’s Party (EPP), commented that the populist bubble on the topic of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has widened and it’s important that the accompanying myths and the psychosis to be controverted.
Kiril Petkov, economist, co-founder of Centre for Economic Strategies and Competitiveness and co-founder of MOVE.BG, exposed the falseness of one of the myths about Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), saying that there will be a risk of increasing the unemployment only in the protected markets and the benefits of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will affect the small and medium enterprises. Petkov added that if the agreement comes into force Bulgarian producers might reduce their expenses for export with more than 70% and Bulgarian competitiveness will grow with 17%.
Regarding the development of the Digital Single Market Iliyana Atanasova, expert on European policies, defined the European strategy as ambitious. Atanasova stressed that Bulgaria has all prerequisites to transform into a regional digital centre with the proactive behaviour from society, business and institutions.
For full video of PANEL 2 please click HERE (in Bulgarian)
The second part of the discussion was on the threats and perspectives faced by the EU foreign and security policy.
Anelia Ivancheva, representative ‘International cooperation’ Directorate, Ministry of Interior, commented on one of the issues faced by the EU – migration. She stressed on the fact that as an external border of the EU with location close to a source of potential migration wave, Bulgaria will not stand aside of the common call for solidarity and shared responsibility among the member states.
Dr. Antoniy Galabov, professor at New Bulgarian University, marked two major threats from foreign policy in terms of security – Euroasian union which would place Europe in the periphery and Islamic fundamentalism based on denying European values. According to Prof. Galabov EU is not successful at consolidation and taking a clear and unified position. In this context, Bulgaria is a cross point of all risks faced by the EU which gives it a substantial advantage to insist for strategic foreign security and defence policy. Martin Tabakov, counsellor of the minister of foreign affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria noted that the common thing among the major foreign threats faced by the EU is in denying human rights and democracy, as well as breaking international order.