Iskra Mihaylova, an experienced MEP from Bulgaria, is the Chair of the Committee for Regional Development, and also a member of the FEDRA Honorary Committee. As a representative of the regional sphere in the EU, and a devoted militant for the development of the non EU-member states, she agreed to have FEDRA in her Parliament office and talk about her work in the REGI Committee and at the delegations to the EU of the Neighbourhood Countries of Macedonia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The interview started with the topic of the priorities of the Committee for Regional Development. According to Mrs Mihaylova, the focus is on obtaining the best results from the current planning period and to prepare the path for the next legislation concerning the cohesion policy after 2020. Implementation, simplification, and coordination are the key words in Mihaylova’s speech and also the link between the several proposals drafted by the parliamentary committee.
Ten years ago, MEP Lambert Van Nistelrooij tried to make a synergy between the structural funds and the Horizon 2020 objectives. Mr. Novakov has the same ambition. His secret is to coordinate all actions towards an only goal, and to “attract priority investors via EFSI and the Junker plan, use the grants we have, and combine them”. Fortunately, there are people in the Parliament, and in the Commission who support this action plan. However, another plan, one more close to his heart, is the current object of Andrey Novakov's attention. This is the ALECO (Achieve Leadership in Entrepreneurship in Cooperation and Opportunities) programme, which has been recently initiated by him. The goal of this programme is to open international markets to young entrepreneurs from the EU.
Andrey Novakov, born July 1st, 1988, is the youngest member of the European Parliament. He comes from the Blagoevgrad region in Bulgaria, and is amazed at the development of his country since it has become an EU state. He is a passionate member of the Committee of Regional Development, and he also endorses better opportunities for young Europeans, since it is the youth who will continue the journey towards development. FEDRA’s team sat down with him to discuss his opinion about regional development in the EU, and about his efforts to engage the youth in social and economic actions for the progress of their communities. The first topic of the discussion was his vision of the EU when its member states face problems. According to him, the Union is similar to “a high residential building with 28 floors, soon 27. France and Germany are on the 1st floors, and the are on the top.” In case of a rain, and of a “leaking roof, even if at that moment [the water] will only ruin the carpet on the last floor, it is just a matter of time until the water from the rain reaches the bottom of that building”.