Vice President Iotova Raises Key Questions about EU at Event in Sofia
Sofia, February 22 (BTA) - Addressing a MEP Spinelli Group Meet-Up, entitled "All routes lead to Europe? Perspectives for a Federal Union", Vice President Iliana Iotova spoke about the geopolitical role and place of the EU, its enlargement, and functioning, the President's press office said in a press release Thursday.
The discussion took place as part of the programme of the Bulgarian EU Council Presidency.
Iotova said that the absence of concrete vision and "courage for bold policy making," withdrawal and closure in institutions have fed the strong anti-European voices. The Vice President spoke about "a record-breaking absence of interest" in the options for the development of the EU suggested by the European Commission. "Either the European topic is lost for our societies, or the suggested ideas fall short of the expectations. Both hypotheses are equally alarming," Iotova said.
Dwelling on the security policy, Iotova spoke about the danger of the intentions to create a defensive core of states, which will draw new lines of division and "a new Schengen" this time in the area of defence.
According to Iotova, Europe must have a firm policy regarding the security of its citizens, but at the same time avoid becoming a closed fortress.
She is adamant that the cohesion policy must continue. The use of European funds must become an instrument for developing and connecting Europe's common economic model, instead of being labeled as "absorption", she said.
The discussions about the new EU budget are overdue, which increases the feelings of insecurity after Brexit, Iotova said.
The lack of social security is among the main problems currently facing Europeans, Iotova said. According to her, it leads to social exclusion, marginalization and lack of education, which are prerequisites for radicalization among the youth.
The Vice President believes that the functioning of European institutions must be reformed. She gave Bulgaria's and Romania's Schengen accession as solid proof of the need for change.
She described xenophobia, denial and populism as being among the hardest challenges for Europe.