Bulgarian Presidency begins with €100 million Juncker Plan loan
The College of Commissioners travelled to Sofia in order to discuss the EU's priorities under the current 6-month Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
On the occasion, President Juncker delivered a speech in which he said: "You can count on us (…) because your place is in Europe. And your place is in Schengen. And your place is in the euro. We will work for that. The Commission will be by Bulgaria's side: united we stand strong and united we will stand."
The College participated in meetings with the Bulgarian government to discuss the main priorities of the Presidency around external relations, security and defence, migration and justice; an inclusive and sustainable Europe closer to the citizens; a competitive, innovative and digital Europe.
This morning President Juncker and Prime Minister Borissov witnessed the signing of a new European Investment Bank (EIB) loan of €100 million with Bulgarian agri-pharma business Huvepharma to finance a boost in production levels and research and development (R&D) in the area of animal health. The loan is guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe, the Juncker Plan. The deal was signed by Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, Agriculture Minister of Bulgaria Rumen Porodzanov, EIB Vice-President Andrew McDowell and Kiril Domuschiev, Chief Executive Officer of Biovet's parent company Huvepharma.
Speaking about the deal in his press conference with Prime Minister Borissov this morning, President Juncker said: "This will not only create 200 jobs locally but will also reinforce Europe’s leading position in the global animal health sector. To me this not only shows this country's potential but it shows that Bulgaria is a leader in Europe." President Juncker also underlined the importance of the upcoming Bulgarian Presidency in the delivery on our Roadmap for a more united, stronger and more democratic Union, and in finding consensus in the ongoing legislative proposals.
On Bulgaria’s prospects of joining the euro, President Juncker said: "Bulgaria is on the right track. Government debt is, with clearly below 30%, one of the lowest of the European Union and of the eurozone, budget deficit is an unknown term in this country, unemployment is falling, which also shows that bigger improvements have been made concerning real convergence in Bulgaria. (...) I am of the opinion that Bulgaria should join the ERMII as quickly as possible."
12 January 2018