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European program
 

CSD's activities in the field of European policy studies started in early 1995 with the launching of the project Europe 2000: Bulgaria and the European Union. The work carried out under this project included a pioneering analysis of issues related to the implementation of the Europe Agreement between Bulgaria and the European Communities which entered into force in February 1995.

Over the past two years CSD's European Program developed into a comprehensive long term effort aimed at examining the opportunities and problems of Bulgaria's accession to the European political, economic and security structures.

Having carried out extensive research and produced a number of policy analyses and recommendations in 1995, the main emphasis in the Program's 1996 activities was placed on encouraging an open public dialogue on the issues of integration. CSD's efforts in this respect were aimed both at assisting the policy debate on a bi-partisan basis, and expanding the discussions to involve the civil society institutions and the public in general.

I. Public Events

The public discussions organized in 1996 focused on three major topics:

  • Trade policy
  • The role of civil society in the process of European integration
  • Foreign policy and security aspects of integration

Trade Policy

In view of the crucial importance of trade policy issues during the association period for Bulgaria, on April 13, CSD organized a conference Trade Policy in the Context of Bulgaria's Integration into the European Union. The conference was held to concur with the annual meeting of the EBRD in Sofia. Speakers were Mr. Atanas Paparizov, Minister of Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation, Mr. Antonino Pitrone, Head of Sector, Economic and Trade Developments and Investment Promotion within DG IA, Unit B1 EU-CEC Relations of the European Commission, Mr. Borislav Georgiev, Deputy Minister of Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation, and Dr. Dencho Georgiev, Chief Bulgarian GATT/WTO Negotiator.

In addition, Mr. Stanislav Daskalov, Director of the Europe 2000 project, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and former chief negotiator for the conclusion of the Europe Agreement presented the project recommendations on trade policy. The recommendations called parti-cularly for:

  • placing a priority on negotiating free trade area agreements with the associated countries of CEE (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and later Slovenia);
  • increased efforts to achieve further opening of the EU market for Bulgarian products;
  • the integration efforts to increasingly cover not only the government level but also the industry level. Cooperation between Bulgarian associations of sector industries, chambers of commerce, etc., and their partners in the EU should be encouraged.

Role of Civil Society in the Process of European Integration

CSD's efforts in the field of European integration include also an important segment on promoting the participation of NGOs in the process. Particularly important in this respect is the strengthening of the links between indigenous NGOs and the European Parliament. With a view of this objective, in 1996 CSD initiated a series of meetings between Members of the European Parliament and Bulgarian non-governmental organizations. The first meeting, on June 13, organized jointly with the Open Society Fund, Sofia discussed the Role of Civil Society in the Process of European Integration. The panel of speakers included Mr. Arie Oostlander, MEP and rapporteur to the European Parliament on the enlargement to the East, Mr. Philip Dimitrov and Mr. Ivailo Kalfin, Deputy Chairs of the Joint Parliamentary Committee EU-Bulgaria. Mr. Oostlander informed the participants about the discussion on his report at the European Parliament. The meeting was attended by representatives of leading Bulgarian NGOs involved in the integration process.

The next in this series of meetings у Integration in the EU on the Agenda of the Civil Society in Bulgaria у was held on July 22 on the eve of the Third Meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Committee EU у Bulgaria. Ms. Wilmya Zimmermann, Member of the European Parliament and representatives of leading Bulgarian NGOs exchanged views on the particular contribution which the non-governmental sector can make to the integration efforts as well as on the prospects of establishing closer contacts between Bulgarian NGOs and the European Parliament.

In view of the contribution these meetings have made to the process of European integration of Bulgaria they will be continued in 1997.

Foreign Policy and Security Aspects of Integration

The issues of the future place of Bulgaria in the new European security architecture figure prominently in the public debate in the country. Responding to the need for enhanced professionalism and openness of the debate, CSD held a number of conferences and seminars aimed at providing forum for dialogue involving the general public as well as experts and policy makers.

CSD considers the input of EU experts and policy makers into the debate to be of particular importance for the integration process. The first in the series of such meetings was held on February 7. Dr. Alyson Bailes, Head of Security Policy Department, Foreign Office of the UK, presented a lecture on European and Regional Security at CSD. Members of Parliament, government officials, NGO representatives and experts took part in the meeting.

The symposium Bulgaria in the Future European Security Structure was held on June 3. Mr. John Roper, Associate Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, London, and member of the Second Carnegie Commission, and Dr. Fraser Cameron, Foreign Policy Adviser at DG IA3 of the European Commission made presentations at the seminar on the integration of the CEECs into the European security structure and on the relation between the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) and enlargement. Participants included Members of Parliament, heads of departments from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense, independent experts and NGO representatives.

In addition to discussions at the expert and policy-making level, the on-going debate about Bulgaria's future in the European security structures includes another important aspect relating to the general public opinion on these issues. With a view of addressing the quality of the information available to the public CSD held a seminar NATO and the Bulgarian Society: Educational Aspects. The seminar participants, including government and NGO experts, and journalists, discussed different approaches to increasing the professionalism and impartiality of the debate in order to provide the general public with the opportunity to make an informed choice on these matters.

Another important aspect of the new European dimension of security is fostering democratic security communities in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. In September 1996, the final course of the project Security and Democracy in the New Europe 1996 was held at CSD. The project is a joint effort of CSD and the Centre for Defense Studies and the Department of War Studies at King's College, University of London as a leading partner, the Department of Defense Studies of University of Ljubljana, the Netherlands Institute for International Relations (Clingendael) and the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP). The course in Sofia was the concluding stage of a two-year project which resulted in the establishment of a network of security professionals from a number of Central and East European countries. Participants included experts from government institutions, NGOs, and journalists.

II. Policy Papers

The Third Meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Committee EU у Bulgaria was held in Sofia at the end of July. For this occasion, CSD developed several policy papers on matters included in the agenda of the meeting. The analysis in the papers was presented from the point of view of Bulgaria's obligations under the Europe Agreement and its general accession strategy. The papers included:

Legal Aspects of the Freedom of Expression in Bulgarian Electronic Media, by Georgi Sarakinov

The Media in Bulgaria, by Koprinka Tchervenkova, Editor-in-Chief, Kultura weekly

Human Resources and Social Policy, by Yordan Hristoskov, Social Policy Advisor to the President of the Republic

Movement of Capital and Payments, by Lyubomir Hristov, Advisor to the Executive Director of the World Bank

The papers provided important background analysis and information for the meeting since social issues and the civil society were prominent on the agenda.



 
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