Von der Leyen’s State of the Union address is expected to highlight accomplishments and look toward the remaining months

Brussels (EFE) – European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will deliver her annual State of the European Union address in Strasbourg on Wednesday, September 13, which marks the start of the EU’s political year. Although no major announcements are expected, von der Leyen is likely to review her milestones and claim her achievements over the past four, hectic years and lay the groundwork for the final months of her term. It is the last speech of this legislative term.

Looking ahead to the remaining months of its mandate, the European Commission has yet to present the expected dossiers, like the enlargement report that will evaluate the progress of the candidate countries for accession to the European Union, including Ukraine. Another dossier will look at the continent’s decarbonisation objectives between now and 2040. In addition, the commission’s role will be key to the success of initiatives that are already being negotiated, such as the European regulation of artificial intelligence, the reform of EU tax rules, the final details of the legislation to make the EU climate neutral by 2050 or the pact on migration and asylum. (September 10)

Slovenian premier urges opening of Bosnia accession talks this year

Ljubljana (STA) – Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob has urged European Council President Charles Michel and EU heads of state to be more ambitious when it comes to the EU accession of Bosnia-Herzegovina, saying that the Council “should decide on opening accession negotiations … by the end of this year”.

“The arguments for such a decision are, in my view, incomparably stronger than those against,” Golob said in an open letter to Michel released by the government on Thursday. Such a decision would “show our understanding of the strategic and stabilising value of the enlargement process, with both gaining relevance following the onset of war in Ukraine.”

“We would also acknowledge the country’s notable efforts to progress on its EU path,” he said. Golob highlighted some positive trends in Bosnia-Herzegovina, including the passage of several laws, as he argued that the opening of the accession negotiations would “insert an additional positive dynamic” into the country’s EU integration process.

He stressed that with the war in Ukraine, EU enlargement has become “a strategic choice and necessity” and that the bloc should “push back against malign actors in the Western Balkans” by putting the region irreversibly on the EU’s path of stability and prosperity.

Bosnia-Herzegovina applied for EU membership in 2016 and received candidate status last December, under the condition that it adopt recommended measures to strengthen the rule of law, fight corruption and strengthen fundamental rights.

Golob noted that this conditionality was unique and “unknown to other accession countries”. Moreover, in the current political circumstances there the implementation of some conditions “may ultimately challenge the political stability, and thus ultimately decrease the attention devoted to the EU integration process”. (September 7)

Had Bulgaria adopted the Euro, inflation and interest rates would be lower today, Bulgarian PM Denkov claims

SOFIA (BTA) – “If we had the euro today, inflation would be lower and interest rates would be lower,” Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov said on the public broadcaster BNT, adding that adopting the euro is what will stabilise people’s incomes. “Because the euro is a stable currency that leads to lower interest rates than the lev at the moment,” the Prime Minister explained. In his words, inflation and interest rates in the euro area are about twice lower than they are in Bulgaria. “It is very important to stop living with some illusions and try to see what the real historical facts show. The big currencies – the dollar, the euro, they are more stable in this respect because there is a large volume that stabilises the currency,” Denkov said.

“The thesis that prices will not rise in general is absolutely wrong. Prices are rising, there is inflation,” the Prime Minister said, referring to people’s fears that the introduction of the euro would also raise prices. He said the important thing was that incomes should rise faster than inflation.

According to him, the country needs a monopoly-free market economy and higher incomes, and these goals are reflected in this and next year’s budgets. “So far we have proved with Finance Minister Assen Vassilev that we know how to collect revenues and how to raise people’s incomes. We have shown it with several budgets and we will do it with Budget 2024,” Denkov assured. (September 8)

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