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Andrey Novakov speaks about his priorities as a Member of the European Parliament and the new EU program for entrepreneurs A.L.E.C.O.

His ambition is increased investments in Eastern Europe to fill the financing gap for basic infrastructure there, finalize the TEN-T network and achieve the needed level of connectivity in Europe.

  • March 21, 2018 13:00
  • Author Olya Georgieva
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Source: Monica Varbanova

Andrey Novakov is the youngest member of the European Parliament, member of the Committee on Regional Development and co-chair on the Committee on Sustainable Development of EuroLat. His work is concentrated on 4 priorities: EU funding and simplifying access to it, youth employment and the EU budget and budgetary control. Andrey Novakov is the initiator and creator of the program for youth entrepreneurship A.L.E.C.O. (Achieving Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Collaboration Opportunities).

How do you estimate the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of Europe, is your country managing to work effectively on its priorities so far?

My opinion, the Bulgarian presidency started with an ambitious program, but also in a very challenging environment. I am proud of my country and how the government is managing the European political agenda so far.  I think we put light to a very important question - the connectivity with the Western Balkans, which will lead to economic prosperity and growth in the region, and in Europe. Furthermore, the fact that Bulgaria is holding the EU Presidency for 6 months gives a very positive image of our country.

Besides having youngsters as a priority, what else are you focused on improving as a Member of the European Parliament?

Young people and entrepreneurship (with the first Bulgarian program at European level - A.L.E.C.O), are only part of my priorities in the European Parliament. My focus is also on the next Multiannual Financial Framework with European budget focused on results with an increased own resources financing system. In fact, a clear view of my work could be presented with a triangle- with EU funding on the one side, management of European shared or centrally managed programs on the other and finally simplified and efficient audit of EU spending. Investments in transport and tourism in European regions as a source for regional development and growth are also among my objectives.

In January, you had a meeting with the Vice President of the European Investment Bank Vazil Hudák. You discussed the opportunities for European Union small and medium cities to benefit from further support for the development of their urban strategies and transport investments. What are the results of the meeting and the short and long-term plan for action?

With the European Investment Bank (EIB) we discussed several opportunities for small and medium sized cities in Bulgaria. Among them are adapted financial products for their size and capacity and more pro-active approach for technical assistance on the spot. The EIB is already planning the realization of those initiatives within even shorter period.

What does the EU budget pay for? How can the small European cities be encouraged to apply for funding?

The European budget offers many shared or centrally managed opportunities for European small municipalities to benefit that would support regional development and specialization, science and innovation, improved services and administration. I have recently worked on a dossier for the future of transport investments in our regions. My ambition is increased investments in Eastern Europe to fill the financing gap for basic infrastructure there, finalize the TEN-T network and achieve the needed level of connectivity in Europe.  

Tell us more about the program “A.L.E.C.O.” (Achieve Leadership in Entrepreneurs and Cooperation Opportunities). How did you get the idea of the project?

I am happy that I managed to realise an important for me personal cause - to give a boost to the European entrepreneurial spirit and skills - I proposed a new European programme for entrepreneurs called A.L.E.C.O (named after Aleko Konstantinov - the great Bulgarian traveller and writer). The programme will allow entrepreneurs across Europe to tap into some of the best entrepreneurial practices developed in non-EU countries. The goal is to open international markets by setting up a one-way mobility scheme in targeted non-EU hosting countries. A.L.E.C.O will become integrated part of Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs by upgrading it in terms of geographical scope to Silicon Valley, Asia and Israel.

I am certain that A.L.E.C.O will revive the European entrepreneurial spirit by allowing young Europeans to get the best experience from top world innovation destinations and to apply that valuable experience in Europe.

What do you think about the unified platform for European municipalities - TheMayor.EU and its main goal to make and keep European citizens better informed about what is taking place in the European Union?

I congratulate TheMayor.EU for the wonderful initiative and I think this is what Europe needed for long time. The European Union is working to respond to the challenges in front of our regions and on the opposite; our regions are the key driving force for the European economy. Making the EU closer and understandable for its citizens is extremely beneficial for the growth and competitiveness of the Union.

TheMayor.eu - the portal of European municipalities has already started to organize the first official awards “Mayor of Europe”. Is such an event needed and significant for the European Union mayors and how it could help them to promote and support implementing their city strategies, projects and ideas?

European mayors need to learn from each other and share best practices. This is an excellent opportunity from them to start to cooperate more intensively.

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