“Bulgaria plays an extremely important role for the future of Europe.” This statement was made by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, who met with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov in Sofia to discuss the main topics from the EU agenda during the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU Council.
The Union provides protection and prosperity, but people do not seem to see enough evidence of that, so we need to focus on work towards concrete results, Rutte said. He mainly focused on reaching agreement on migration, the single market, and the single digital market.
The other topics discussed included the EU support for the Western Balkan countries in their European integration - one of the priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency, as well as the relations with the Union's major neighbors. In bilateral respect, economic relations and the accession of Bulgaria to the Schengen area and the Euro area were discussed.
“Let me first congratulate Boyko Borissov on his outstanding leadership and on leading Bulgaria to more prosperity. You are one of the fastest-growing economies in the EU and that is something where there is continuity in your cabinets,” said Mark Rutte. Highlighting the excellent macroeconomic performance, the Dutch Prime Minister noted that Bulgaria is on the right track and there is a little more to go until joining the Eurozone.
“We are in favor of Bulgaria joining Schengen, and we want to praise the efforts and achievements of Prime Minister Borissov and his team in implementing the necessary policies to realize this accession, but we need to see some more work done by all stakeholders, including Bulgaria,” Rutte said.
He also stressed the Bulgarian Prime Minister's contribution to stability on the Balkans, highlighting his key role in maintaining good relations with the countries from the region and Turkey.
“There is no doubt that the external border no longer constitutes a problem. Everyone knows that we guard it very well,” the Bulgarian Prime Minister pointed out. Borissov said that Bulgaria will complete its work on the Coordination and Verification Mechanism and stressed that the European Commission's reports already reflect the results from the fight against smuggling.” My colleague was familiar with the data - Bulgaria is among the leaders in this respect, they have to catch up with us,” he said. The Prime Minister also noted that only a month after its start, the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU is highly appreciated. “I hope we will continue this way in the upcoming months, and will send positive signals to the Dutch Parliament so that within their complex coalition we manage to convince everyone that in the East there is a disciplined country that abides by the financial rules, generates economic growth, guards the Schengen border, respects the rule of law, a country that can serve as a role-model with its stability and can generate for the entire region,” said Prime Minister Boyko Borissov.