Prime Minister Boyko Borissov held a video conference with the President of the European Council Charles Michel. The two discussed the Recovery Plan for Europe in response to the COVID-19 crisis and the new long-term EU budget. The topic will be the focus of the first meeting of EU leaders in Brussels after the restrictive measures for the pandemic are over, which will take place on July 17th and 18th in the Belgian capital.
During the conversation, the Bulgarian Prime Minister pointed out that the European Commission's proposal of May 27 is extremely balanced, given the serious challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Prime Minister Borissov expressed hope that the proposal of the President of the European Council for the meeting on July 17 and 18 will be balanced and will take into account the starting position of the economies of each Member State, as well as their strength of crisis response.
"It is important for Bulgaria that the Cohesion Policy and Common Agricultural Policy will be maintained at the levels of the current proposal," Borissov told Charles Michel. The Bulgarian Prime Minister reminded that the traditional EU budgetary policies are of key importance for leveling the common European standards in all member states and for increasing the competitiveness. With regard to the Multiannual Financial Framework, Borissov also acknowledged as positive the adequate funding on migration and security issues, which coincides with the Prime Minister's understanding of the key importance of protecting the EU's external borders.
Prime Minister Boyko Borissov added that the EU's Just Transition Fund needs to be more flexible in order to meet the current challenges facing Member States as much as possible. In this sense, according to the Bulgarian Prime Minister, it is good to consider the possibility of the Fund to provide finances for the promotion and development of green energy capacity in regions where energy capacity has not existed so far. "When this is done, more regions will have the opportunity to bring a 'green' positive to the EU economy," Prime Minister Borissov told the President of the European Council.
During the videoconference, the proposal that Charles Michel will present to the leaders of the European Council at a meeting in Brussels in mid-July, including an updated draft of the Multiannual Financial Framework and the Next Generation EU instrument, was discussed in detail.
The Next Generation EU instrument, created in response to the challenges of combating COVID-19, consists of three pillars: support to Member States with investments and reforms, kick-starting the EU economy by incentivizing private investments and addressing the lessons of the crisis. The first pillar includes the Recovery and Resilience Facility and the Just Transition Fund. The third pillar provides for the strengthening of the Civil Protection Mechanism, the creation of a new Health Programme to invest in the EU health system and the strengthening of the Horizon Europe Programme in funding research.