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EP elections, citizens’ involvement and general institutional issues: Bulgarian Presidency reports on the progress made on topics overseen by European Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs

Met dank overgenomen van Bulgaars voorzitterschap Europese Unie 1e helft 2018 (Bulgaars voorzitterschap), gepubliceerd op woensdag 20 juni 2018.

During the six months of its Presidency, Bulgaria managed to take forward the work on key legislative files that fall within the responsibility of the European Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO). Today, Monika Panayotova, Deputy Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU and responsible for relations with the European Parliament, took stock of the achievements made so far and outlined the remaining challenges during a session of the AFCO committee in Brussels.

In her statement, Ms Panayotova said:

“We had a lot of files on our table. At first sight, these dossiers are very technical and legally complex. However, they have a major impact on the on the participatory democracy of the Union and on the democratic legitimacy of its policies. They are actually the key instruments for achieving our main goal: a citizen-focused and citizen-driven Europe.”

In her presentation, she outlined the progress made in three groups of legislative files, linked to the forthcoming European Parliament elections, the citizens’ involvement and general institutional issues.

When it comes to the files related to the European Parliament elections due in May 2019, the Bulgarian Presidency succeeded to finalise the negotiations on the Statute and Funding of European political parties. The Presidency also expects Member States to make a decision on the composition of the European Parliament - the rules that clarify how the seats will be redistributed following Brexit - by the end of this month. The date of the EP Elections was also fixed during the Bulgarian Presidency. Finally, the Presidency managed to push forward the reform of the EU Electoral law at the level of the Council and expects the feedback of the European Parliament before the deal is finalised. The Council has agreed on meaningful package of improvements in order to enhance citizens' participation in the EP elections, raising awareness of their European character and preventing irregular voting.

When it comes to the files that contribute to increasing citizens’ participation and citizens’ oversight of the system, we expect Member States to agree their position on the rules on the European Citizens’ Initiative already next week, with negotiations with the European Parliament due to begin by the end of June. Bulgaria also advanced the work on the Transparency Register, including by ensuring the political commitment to this issue by the vast majority of the Member States.

Finally, when it comes to the general institutional issues, first on the list are the partial general approaches for each of the two proposals on the adaptation of legal acts referring to the Regulatory Procedure with Scrutiny to Articles 290 and 291 of the Lisbon Treaty (RPS Adaptation). On the delineation criteria between Delegated and Implementing acts, the Bulgarian Presidency engaged in intensive inter-institutional negotiations and made a good progress on a number of points. Regarding the EP Right of Inquiry, the Presidency paid special attention to it but the work on it is due to continue.

“We did our best to move the agenda forward during the last 6 months. But we all know very well that no Presidency can succeed alone. Therefore, we are grateful for the strong Parliamentary dimension of the Bulgarian Presidency and the good relations with the European Parliament,”

Ms Panayotova concluded.

The full statement of Ms Panayotova is available here.

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