The priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the area of justice and security were discussed in Parliament. The meeting was attended by MPs and representatives of professional magistrate organisations and NGOs. It is planned that the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Justice will hold 24 thematic meetings. The setting up of an informal council in Sofia as well as a EU-USA Council is planned for May 2018.
The Chair of the Committee on Internal Security and Public Order Tsvetan Tsvetanov stressed that the EU Presidency provides an important chance for our country. He said that the parliamentary dimension involves six events. The key event will take place in March to set up a political Board with representatives of the national parliaments. According to Tsvetan Tsvetanov, this is a way to guarantee that the work of Europol is to the benefit of the citizens. The strengthened presence of Frontex in Bulgaria is a chance for us to defend our position that we are a reliable partner and that the Bulgarian border is the most reliable in the EU, he said.
The Minister of Justice Tsetska Tsacheva emphasised the need to establish a European prosecution, since Bulgaria is a driving force of the strong cooperation under this regulation. This office is planned to conduct effective investigation of crimes against the European budget and funds. At the discussion, Tsetska Tsacheva also indicated that there will be a conference on 26 and 27 March 2018 with the participation of experts from EU member-states, representatives of the prosecution and members of the Parliament. The third focus will be on the recast of the Brussels IIA Regulation which considers the enforcement of court decisions related to child abduction or matrimonial matters across borders. The goal is to guarantee the safety and interest of each and every child. According to the Minister of Justice, the common priorities for both ministries involve prevention of radicalisation and forced Islamism, the fight against terrorism, cybercrime, organised crime and money laundering.
The main themes for Europe are more efficient management of migration processes, terrorism and increasing citizens’ security as well as the active police cooperation, said the Minister of the Interior Valentin Radev and added that the Bulgarian Presidency will encourage the exchange of high-quality information and the best use of the European database systems. He expressed his expectations that a consensus will be reached on the Dublin Regulation. The Minister of the Interior mentioned that Bulgaria will focus its efforts and work to increase the rate of return of illegal residents to third countries. The success of our Presidency will be largely measured by the progress on legislative proposals for reforming the Common European Asylum System, said Valentin Radev.
The Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union Lilyana Pavlova said that the calendar of events has been approved and the government will adopt the official programme no later than 20 December. The Bulgarian Presidency will be launched on 4 January 2018. Over 230 events will take place within the Presidency, out of which 30 will be top-level. The key messages are consensus, competitiveness and cohesion, and among the priorities are the European prospects for the Western Balkans.