‘The European leaders have demonstrated unity after Brexit and continue to manage and direct the process of the UK’s withdrawal from the Union. We are witnessing efforts on the part of the Union to get closer to its citizens while improving its ability to respond more effectively to their concerns. I believe that this will contribute to maintaining confidence on the part of the neighbors and partners of the EU,’ said Deputy Foreign Minister Todor Stoyanov at the European Strategy Forum in Lisbon on February 1st through 3rd, 2018. He made his statement on the second day of the event, at a discussion panel on the subject of Brexit and its impact.
The Bulgarian Deputy Foreign Minister emphasized the importance of the greater unity demonstrated by the member states in their quest for a new post-Brexit vision of the Union. Of key importance is to guarantee the smooth withdrawal of the United Kingdom, subject to clear conditions agreed by both parties. This includes resolving all outstanding issues, including the enforcement of the agreement, regulations concerning the period of transition and a vision for the future, Todor Stoyanov also said. ‘Given what the Council achieved last Monday, our optimism in this respect has increased,’ added the Deputy Minister.
Preserving the integrity of the single market as a common good with a strict regulatory framework that guarantees financial stability, investor protection and equal treatment is of key importance for the EU. The United Kingdom will remain an important market for the business sector, but it will be up to London to decide how close it wants to remain to the Union in the future, Todor Stoyanov also underscored. ‘No ambitious partnership will be possible without a common basis for fair competition, state aid, guarantees against tax dumping, social and environmental standards,’ he added.
Even though the UK will pursue its own foreign policy priorities post-Brexit, achieving partnership in the areas of security, defense and foreign policy, counter-terrorism and the fight against international organized crime will not be so hard, Deputy Minister Stoyanov also said. In his words, the United Kingdom will remain a NATO ally, and will continue to share the common values of peace, democracy, rule of law and human rights.
‘An example of that is the common approach that Bulgaria and the UK have towards the Balkans,’ Stoyanov pointed out. The Bulgarian Presidency posits the European perspective of the countries in the region as a key instrument for guaranteeing peace, stability and prosperity. This is the message that we want to address also through the Summit Meeting for the Western Balkans in Sofia in May. The United Kingdom has already expressed its willingness, at the London Summit of the Berlin Process, to follow up on the results achieved in Sofia, thereby contributing to the more effective fulfilment of the two parties’ common goals, concluded Todor Stoyanov.
The European Strategy Forum was created in 2006 in Portugal as an informal platform for the exchange of views on relevant issues on the European and international agenda. Participating in the forum are national diplomats, leading political analysts, representatives of the non-governmental sector and the media.