Interview


    • EU's main priority is to end impunity for human trafficking

      EU's main priority is to end impunity for human trafficking

      I participated in the Sofia forum following the invitation of the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU Council, and I am very pleased to see the engagement of different stakeholders on this issue. The Bulgarian National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (NCCTHB) has been actively promoting cooperation with the Informal Network of National Anti-trafficking Coordinators from South-Eastern Europe (SEE) and its Secretariat.

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    • Migrant integration is two-way process

      Migrant integration is two-way process

      Our analysis looks into the legal migrants in the EU coming from third countries, who account for about 4% of the Union's population. These are foreign nationals who migrated for educational or employment purposes as well as individuals who have been provided protection as refugees, for example. Between 2014 and 2017, first-time applicants for asylum in the EU were nearly 3.7m, which is three times more compared with the previous four-year period. Meanwhile, research shows that successful migrant integration yields long-term economic, social and tax benefits for the host country.

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    • EU needs to engage more with its citizens

      EU needs to engage more with its citizens

      The aim of our campaign 'Cities4Europe - Europe for citizens', which we launched earlier in May, is to try to mobilise cities in Europe and also civil society, the citizens, to talk openly about the future of Europe. But also of the possibilities that cities have to bring Europe closer to its citizens. We want to share this campaign that discovers and promotes new forms of democracy across the cities in Europe.

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    • Bulgaria presented the Balkans in new light

      Bulgaria presented the Balkans in new light

      Considering that the previous meeting of such nature took place 15 years ago in Thessaloniki, where it was decided that it should be a triennial event, and given that the EU's interest in the integration of the Western Balkan nations quite recently was lost somewhere between lip-service declarations and outright reservations, the return of the topic on the European agenda represents a mission accomplished for Bulgaria's EU Presidency.

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    • Joining the EU is entirely in the hands of Western Balkan countries

      Joining the EU is entirely in the hands of Western Balkan countries

      I hope so, since the summit was rather unique; there has not been a meeting of such nature over the past several years. Bulgaria's EU Presidency identified the integration of the Western Balkans into the European Union (EU) as one of its priorities, and it was only natural that Sofia organised such a summit. The very fact that it took place is a step forward and shows the EU's commitment. The gathering's goal was not to fix deadlines and concrete results. The general timeframe had already been laid out by the Commission's president, while concrete results, as it was pointed out, depend overwhelmingly on the countries themselves.

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    • Staying united, we can overcome any challenge

      Staying united, we can overcome any challenge

      Today, 9 May, is Europe Day, when we celebrate the noblest and bravest efforts we as Europeans have made in our recent history. Thanks to those efforts, 28 democratic countries now seek to reconcile their differences through the work of institutions and on the basis of common rules. We are the largest market in the world. Our social model is the most advanced in the world. From Bucharest to Lisbon, from Cadiz to Helsinki, we are living through an era of unprecedented peace and stability – after centuries of discord and conflict.

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    • Cohesion policy is not a gift

      Cohesion policy is not a gift

      My election as chief negotiator for the basic regulation regarding the European Structural and Investment Funds after 2020 is a tremendous honour and a responsibility, especially in a time when Europe is deeply polarised and mired in uncertainty.

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    • More war never helps to stop war­

      More war never helps to stop war­

      We have unfortunately the war in Syria for seven years now, and no real efforts were made to have a political or a diplomatic solution to end it. The countries that on 14 April committed the air strikes, the US, France and the UK, bear some kind of responsibility, namely when it comes to selling weapons to some countries in the region. We will never have a peace solution if the answer to the war is with more war. In that sense, I think these countries would do much better if they really invest in a political and diplomatic solution and try to help the different initiatives, mainly these which have been conducted by the United Nations, instead of just feeding the war.

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    • Western Balkans have historic opportunity

      Western Balkans have historic opportunity

      EC President Jean-Claude Juncker noted during one of his most recent visits to Sofia on 1 March that Bulgaria has been impressive with the quality of its work during its first ever Presidency of the Council of the EU. Let me point to several examples of what has been accomplished by the Bulgarian diplomacy and administration.

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    • Concerns about World War III are exaggerated

      Concerns about World War III are exaggerated

      Tensions escalated after reports of an alleged chemical attack in Syria. I say “alleged” because there is no international body to confirm its existence or source. Unfortunately, debates in the UN Security Council and the three resolutions for the institutionalisation of such an agency fell through.

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