Press Release No: 18/17
8 May 2018
A delegation from CEC and COMECE  (Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union) met in Sofia on 8 May with the Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, Ekaterina Zakharieva, to exchange views on the priorities of the Bulgarian EU Council Presidency.
On this occasion, the COMECE delegation led by H. E. Mgr. Christo Proykov, Bishop delegate from Bulgaria , presented a joint reflection elaborated with his Bishops’ Conference  on the four priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency: Future of Europe and Youth, Western Balkans, Security and Migration, and Digital Economy.
The CEC delegation presented work relating to these priorities, including the broad consultation on the future of Europe  initiated by CEC in 2016 and its recent publication on European economic governance . Church representatives also expressed concern for the plight of migrants, and reaffirmed the importance of developing more welcoming policies that will better facilitate living together in Europe.
Bulgaria holds its presidency in a time of increased perception of fears and security threats. Current efforts to foster European cooperation on defence, the delegation stressed, “should focus on promoting human security and longstanding peace in Europe and worldwide, putting persons, families and communities at their centre, while fully respecting the rule of law.”
The parties also agreed in the discussion about the need to empower young people to fully participate in all levels of social, economic, and political life.
Taking place one week ahead of the EU-Western Balkans Summit , this meeting offered the opportunity to exchange on the Churches’ perspectives regarding the European integration process of the Western Balkans . This topic has also been the subject of a recently published COMECE contribution , shared with policy makers of all 28 EU Member States.
The open and transparent dialogue between representatives of Churches and the respective EU Council Presidencies is part of a long-standing practice supported by the Article 17(3) TFEU .
- Rev. Dr. Daniel Topalski, Superintendent of the Evangelical Methodist Episcopal Church in Bulgaria
- Rev. Stoycho Apostolov, President of the Union of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Bulgaria
- Very Reverend Protopresbyter Heikki Theodoros Huttunen, General Secretary of the Conference of European Churches
- H. E. Mgr. Christo Proykov , Apostolic Exarch of Sofia and President of the Bulgarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference
- Mr. Bogdan Patashev, Secretary General of the Bulgarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference 
- Marek Misak, COMECE Policy Adviser for EU External Relations .
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