Bulgaria's Evropa TV Presents Van Rompuy with Pro-European Policy AwardBulgaria in EU | April 20, 2016, Wednesday // 10:24| views
Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev (L) and former European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (R). Photo: BGNES
Former European Council President Herman Van Rompuy is this year's holder of the annual award for pro-European policy of Bulgarian TV station Evropa (Europe).
The first president of the European Council arrived in Bulgaria specially for the award ceremony, which took place in the Balkan hotel in downtown Sofia on Tuesday. Rompuy's visit to Bulgaria is on the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of Evropa TV.
The ceremony was attended by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, President Rosen Plevneliev, mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova, Ombudsman Maya Manolova, the chairperson of the parliamentary internal security and public order committee, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, former president Petar Stoyanov, as well many representatives of the country's political and cultural elite.
Plevneliev, who was last year's holder of the title, handed the award personally to Van Rompuy.
In his speech, the Bulgarian president recognised Rompuy as a great European, who took the right visionary decisions for the future of the EU at a time when the EU was facing deep crises.
According to Plevneliv, Rompuy helped Europe to overcome great challenges at difficult moment.
Upon receiving the award, the former European Council president said that the title is in recognition of his European convictions and actions in the 2010-2014 period.
He identified these years as turbulent period, but warned that the storm in Europe is not over yet.
He added that in the time of multiple crises, the EU was in need of strong faith in the European idea as offering the only opportunities to maintain and consolidate peace, prosperity and democracy.
Rompuy was firm that there is no place for authoritarian regimes in Europe. Instead, political democracy, rule of law, absence of all forms of discrimination, gender equality, separation of religious from secular authority should be promoted.
Prior to the award ceremony, Borisov held a meeting with Rompuy. The Bulgarian prime minister recognised the contribution of Rompuy to maintain unity and solidarity in the EU in a difficult time for the Union.
He recognised his diplomacy, ability to negotiate and reach compromise, which had been instrumental in overcoming crises which could have had harsh consequences for the member states.
Borisov also noted Rompuy's support for Bulgaria as equal member of the EU, assuring him that he will be always remembered as a great friend of Bulgaria.
The two discussed the current political situation in Bulgaria, the migrant situation and the measures taken by Bulgaria in guarding the external borders of the EU.