President Radev to EC President Juncker: We Aspire to Stronger EU after Bulgarian Presidency

Sofia, January 12 (BTA) - Meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker here Friday, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev said that the European Union "should be even stronger" after the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU Council. "The Bulgarian state institutions will be united and working actively towards this goal," said Radev as quoted by his press office.

Radev assured Juncker that his country is ready to join the Schengen area and the two agreed that Bulgaria's accession would improve security for the entire EU.

The European Commission President confirmed his support for the efforts of Bulgaria to strengthen the European perspective of the countries in the Western Balkans and to energize dialogue with them.

Radev and Juncker discussed the steps that have been made in the past year for building the common European defence. Radev said that strengthened cooperation in the area of common foreign and security policy is positive for Bulgaria and an important visionary step for the EU.

President Radev said that Bulgaria is ready to participate in future joint projects in the defence industry, science and building the joint defence capabilities of the EU member states.

Also on the agenda of the meeting was the budget of the EU after the UK leaves. The two sides concurred that the budgeting process should reflect the growing needs of the EU for more security for its citizens, strict control on the migration processes and key projects for connectivity and development of the European regions.

Bulgarian Parliament to Participate Actively in Discussion on Future of EU

Meeting with Juncker, Bulgarian National Assembly Chair Tsveta Karayancheva said that the legislative branch of power in Bulgaria will participate actively in the discussion on the future of the EU.

Attending the meeting was the college of EU Commissioners, the chairmanship of the Bulgarian Parliament and the leaders of the parliamentary committees.

Karayancheva said that more than ever united Europe needs stability, security, economic growth, social cohesion, good future for young people, more jobs, competitiveness and a developed digital market.

She believes that the parliamentary dimension of the Bulgarian Presidency offers fine opportunities for active involvement of the national Parliament in the European agenda.

"The National Assembly has repeatedly express its readiness and is committed to its policy of accord and unity of action among the parliamentary forces. We support the declared priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency and share its key messages: consensus, competitiveness and cohesion," said the Parliament leader.

Juncker said that work with the national parliaments is important for him and expressed satisfaction that the EC will be able to hear the voice of all groups in the Bulgarian National Assembly.

He said that ever since there has been Bulgarian diplomacy, it has thrown bridges not only in the Western Balkans but also in other countries including Turkey.

Before the meeting in Parliament, the floor leader of the Patriotic Union, Volen Siderov, gave Juncker as a gift a bottle of aged rakiya brandy.

Juncker commended the organization of the Bulgarian Presidency and its parliamentary dimension.

Source: Sofia