Bulgaria’s government approved at its sitting on December 6 the four priorities for the country’s upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union. Bulgaria will hold the six-month rotating presidency from January 1 2018 to June 30 2018.
In addition to the four priorities – economic growth and social convergence, security and stability “in a strong and united Europe”, Western Balkans, and the digital economy – the document also contains a breakdown of specific topics that Bulgaria plans to raise, as well as goals it hopes to achieve, in the 10 different formats of the European council, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television reported.
On the first of those priorities, the topics are the EU’s multi-year budget and the bloc’s cohesion policy beyond 2020, the future of the common agricultural policy and the economic and monetary union, sustainable natural environment, culture as a strategic resource for a better EU future, and youth as the centre of the debate on the future of Europe, the report said.
Concerning security and stability, the Bulgarian presidency of the EU would work towards strengthening border controls and “a more efficient management of migration processes”. The topics of note would be migration, efficient and speedy justice, energy, the EU as a strong participant in international affairs, as well as a sustainable and integrated approach for the Danube and Black Sea region.
On the Western Balkans, the focus would be on strengthening regional co-operation and developing good neighbourliness relations.
Finally, the digital economy priority would include topics such as competitiveness, the common digital market and encouraging entrepreneurship and social innovation.
This is the latest step in the process of fine-tuning Bulgaria’s first rotating EU presidency since it joined the bloc in January 2017. The cabinet approved a first draft of priorities in July and is due to present the final list in Parliament before the National Assembly breaks for the winter holidays recess next week.