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Minister Svetlan Stoev: The prosperity of the EU depends on the people, the young are the backbone of our future

12 October 2021 News

The prosperity of the European Union depends on the people, the young are the backbone of our future. We have a responsibility to provide them with better opportunities by creating more jobs, tackling demographic problems, protecting our borders and further improving the quality of life in Europe.

This was emphasized by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Svetlan Stoev during the opening of an online discussion - civil dialogue in Sofia with the Vice President of the European Commission and Co-Chair of the Executive Council of the Conference on the Future of Europe Dubravka Šuica. The discussion is part of the Conference on the Future of Europe and was opened by Minister Stoev and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs of Croatia Gordan Grlić-Radman, who is on an official visit to Bulgaria. 

The civil dialogue entitled Conference on the Future of Europe: Education, Brain Movement and Demographic Trends, and focused on important issues for young people, from demography, science and innovation cooperation, to the search for better conditions and opportunities for education and development of young people in their home countries.

In his opening remarks at the House of Europe, the Foreign Minister emphasized the importance of solidarity and relations between EU Member States, especially in a time of challenges.

"Climate change, migration, the health pandemic, disinformation and security issues have tested the EU like never before. They have caused insecurity among the citizens of the Member States. Now, more than ever, Europe must be united - this is our only chance to move forward," said Minister Stoev.

He pointed out that for Bulgaria the Conference on the Future of Europe is an excellent opportunity for exchange of views, especially with a view to overcoming the current pandemic and building capacity for resilience to future crises. "We expect a structured debate focused on the most important policies for societies and citizens. We can make the EU stronger and more resilient by focusing mainly on what unites and brings Member States together, as well as on cooperation between the EU institutions. We hope that the debate in the Conference will give us ideas on how to better achieve this goal," said our Foreign Minister.

The Bulgarian side welcomes putting the topic of demography at the forefront of the EU agenda, especially in view of the continuing negative demographic trends in Europe. We are concerned about the depopulation of regions with more unfavorable economic conditions. The aging of the population and the declining share of workers are some of the main problems that need to be addressed.

During the event, EU Commissioner for Democracy and Demography Dubravka Šuica stressed that for the first time now the EU has allocated a special commissioner's portfolio on the subject of demography. According to her, in addition to the two transitions important for the European Union, i.e. green and digital, the transition in demography is also of great importance for the future of the union. She also presented the interactive tool for monitoring and predicting demographic change in the EU - "Atlas of Demography", available on the electronic platform of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

In her speech, the Vice President of the European Commission also stressed the importance of Bulgaria as a member state of the European Union, including in geopolitical terms. Dubravka Šuica expressed the opinion that it is important for Bulgaria, as well as for her homeland Croatia, to be admitted to the Eurozone and Schengen. 

The Conference on the Future of Europe is a joint initiative of the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission and aims to give European citizens a leading role in setting EU priorities in a number of related events and debates, as well as an interactive multilingual digital platform.

Today's event was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia in cooperation with the Representative Office of the European Commission in Bulgaria and PanEuropa Bulgaria.

Minister Stoev praised the importance of such discussions, saying that Bulgaria will continue to work to organize similar forums in the future to give a voice to the people of the EU.

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