Deputy Prime Minister for Judicial Reform and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva presented this morning the priorities of the forthcoming Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union during an informal meeting of state secretaries and secretaries general of the EU Member States’ foreign ministries in Sofia.
Quoting the motto of our country and of the forthcoming Presidency, “United We Stand Strong,” Minister Zaharieva emphasized that unity and solidarity are essential for the success of the European idea and the European Union. “The Western Balkans are immensely significant for Europe’s security and prosperity. It is vital to revive the European perspective of the countries of the region,” she also said. Addressing the secretaries general and state secretaries, the chief Bulgarian diplomat said that this will also be one of the country’s central messages during the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia in May 2018. “We must give prospects to young people, youth unemployment there is as high as 60 per cent,” she added.
Ekaterina Zaharieva spoke about the need to develop digital skills in young people and EU citizens and brought up the future of Europe, economic growth and Cohesion Policy, as well as EU security and stability in the context of geopolitical processes and migrant pressure. “The Cohesion Policy is very important for us, each euro spent in Bulgaria returns 0.60 euro to the net payers,” the Deputy Prime Minister stressed.
Over the course of the day, the participants will consider current political issues. The discussions will focus mainly on interaction between the European External Action Service (EEAS) and Member States. The meeting is chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, Elena Shekerletova, and EEAS Secretary General Helga Schmid.
The schedule of the event includes a tour of the Cyber Security Lab at Sofia Tech Park as a follow-up to the topic of digitalisation and the future of Europe.