On 18 January 2022, European Innovation and Information Center at the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, licensed WTC Sofia AF, organized a meeting of the EU Club at BCCI, dedicated to the assumption of the Presidency of the Council of the EU by the Republic of France. Due to the current epidemic situation the meeting was held online.
Traditionally, the EU Club brought together ambassadors of EU member states, politicians, entrepreneurs and journalists to discuss the results achieved during the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2021 and to hear the priorities that France has laid down for its Presidency of the Council. The participants also got updates on the progress of Bulgaria’s candidacy to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The topics were presented by H.E. Mr. Anžej Frangeš, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Slovenia, H.E. Mrs. Florence Robine, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of France, and Mrs. Radka Balabanova, Director of “Foreign Economic Relations” Directorate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria.
The meeting was opened by Tsvetan Simeonov, President of BCCI, who congratulated the participants and thanked Ambassador Frangeš for the work done during the Slovenian Presidency. President Simeonov also thanked all representatives of the diplomatic corps in the country and guests of the meeting who support the EU Club and participate actively in its initiatives.
The President of the EU Club Prof. Ingrid Shikova also thanked the Slovenian Embassy in Sofia for the efforts and the results achieved over the past six months, emphasizing the difficult and unpredictable conditions in which the last few presidencies have been forced to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She expressed confidence that France would undoubtedly succeed in its goals of “recovery, strength and a sense of belonging” for Europe and its citizens.
Ambassador Robine outlined the three main priorities of the French Presidency:
A more sovereign Europe: by strengthening the Schengen area, protecting European borders, controlling migration and improving the asylum policy, in line with Europe’s values and its international commitments; by building a stronger Europe which is more capable of action in the fields of security and defence; by taking action for the prosperity and stability of its neighbours, particularly through its engagement in the Western Balkans and its renewed relationship with Africa; and by bringing forth solutions to global challenges.
A new European model for growth: to make Europe a land of production, job creation, innovation and technological excellence; in which economic development is aligned with climate goals; that supports innovation and the growth of European digital players and sets its own rules for the digital world; and that offers high-quality, high‑skilled and better-paying jobs.
A humane Europe: that listens to the concerns expressed by its citizens through the Conference on the Future of Europe; that defends the rule of law and upholds its values; that takes pride in its culture, trusts in science and knowledge, and is committed to fighting discrimination and securing a future for the next generation.
The next EU Club meeting will be dedicated to the assumption of the Presidency of the Council of the EU by the Czech Republic as of 1st July 2022.