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Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Kalle Palling visited Bulgaria and met with Vice President of the Bulgarian parliament Dimitar Glavchev, Chairperson of the Committee on European Affairs Svetlen Tanchev, and Deputy Prime Minister Meglena Kuneva. Topics included preparations for the presidency of the Council of the European Union, as well as the results of the British referendum.

Under the current plan, Estonia is to hand over the presidency to Bulgaria in July 2018. “The presidency trio of UK-Estonia-Bulgaria has whittled down to a strong and closely cooperating duo. We are not sure yet if and how the order of the presidency would be changed,” Palling said.

Both Bulgaria and Estonia considered competitiveness of the EU and development of the European Energy Union as the main priorities for their presidencies.

“The key to EU competitiveness lies in applying the new digital opportunities and creating a digital single market. The Estonian presidency intends to concentrate on issues where we are able to offer the best added value in the EU debate. The main issues are digital single market and connections, including energy and transport connections,” Palling said.

Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister Meglena Kuneva named good relations with neighbouring countries as important factors in the context of EU competitiveness, alongside free trade agreements with major global economies, such as the USA.

The two sides agreed that all the processes for seeking or applying solutions during crises take far too long in the EU. Estonia and Bulgaria should cooperate to ensure a more flexible and faster development of the European Union, and work towards removing excessive bureaucratic obstacles.

The Chairs of the EU affairs committees of the Estonian and Bulgarian parliaments are optimistic that smart and sustainable decisions will be made in the issue of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Palling also took part in the Shared Economy and Digital Single Market Conference organised by the Bulgarian parliament, where he spoke on “Smart Regulation: Estonian Model”.

Photos of the working visit

Riigikogu Press Service
Kati Varblane
Phone: 631 6353, 516 9152
Questions: press@riigikogu.ee