The EU integration of the Western Balkans is not just a main priority of our foreign policy; it is important for all sectors in Bulgaria, said Deputy Prime Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva at a discussion organised by the parliamentary Committee on European Affairs and Oversight of the European Funds and the Foreign Policy Committee. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva attended an event at the Parliament entitled “EU Integration, Regional Cooperation and Connectivity of the Western Balkans: the Contribution of the Bulgarian Presidency”.
The Deputy Prime Minister emphasised that the topic of the EU integration of the Western Balkan states would continue after the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU. Bulgaria will never be strong and prosperous enough, unless our neighbours are members of the democratic family to which we belong, said Ekaterina Zaharieva. She thanked the Chairs of the parliamentary committees for their initiatives to organise discussions with different participants, as well as for their support for prosperous, stable and democratic Western Balkans. In her words, however, the main responsibility for the accession lies with the governments of the Western Balkan states, which Bulgaria is prepared to cooperate with in all areas.
Kristian Vigenin, Chair of the Committee on European Affairs and Oversight of the European Funds, said that through the meetings and discussions on the forthcoming Bulgarian Presidency and the Western Balkans topic in particular, the MPs were gradually going into the details and getting to the concrete things they wanted to achieve.
Denitsa Nikolova, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works, Angel Popov, Deputy Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications, and Zhecho Stankov, Deputy Minister of Energy, presented information about “Projects and initiatives to deepen regional cooperation and improve connectivity (transport, communication, infrastructure and energy) in South-eastern Europe: Bulgaria’s role and participation”. The discussion was attended by representatives of the Public Council at the Committee on European Affairs and Oversight of the European Funds: experts on EU integration, foreign policy and security, representatives of the academia, trade union and employers’ organisations, non-governmental and students’ organisations, institutions and foundations working on EU issues.
The event was broadcast live on the website of the National Assembly.