Bulgaria started its round as the holder of the EU Council presidency on the 1st January 2018, after Estonia concluded its turn by the end of the year 2017. It is the first time the country assumes this position since its entry in the European Union back in 2007. Although Bulgaria has been regarded as the poorest country in the EU – and is said to be the most corrupted one – it will seek to continue on the work begun by its predecessor, most notably by developing the digital single market project even further.

Indeed, one of its main priorities will be to promote competitiveness by using all the innovative and digital means which will be part of the European digital single market. In its work programme published a few days ago, the Bulgarian representatives to the EU Council indicated that they would focus on “accelerating the process of completing a competitive and fair digital Single Market; supporting connectivity within the EU; updating the regulatory framework for telecommunications; enhancing the credibility and security of personal data in the digital space and the development of a European data-based economy.

This point is only one part of a four-priorities programme, which encompasses different areas, namelyeconomic and social cohesion”, “stability and security of Europe”, “European prospects and connectivity of the Western Balkans” and finally “digital economy and skills for the future”. The overall goal of the Bulgarian presidency will therefore be to make the European Union “stronger, more united and more democratic”, as Bulgaria’s representatives stated in the 40-pages long work programme.

Bulgaria will surely face a lot of challenges along the way, before Austria eventually takes over the EU Council presidency by the 1st July 2018, but it will strive to achieve all the goals that have been set up by the three countries – Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria – as they are part of a trio presidency. Moreover, according to the Council of the EU, “working as a trio presidency also means that the three member states have the opportunity to learn about each other and to work together closely, thus strengthening the EU as a whole.”

 

Raphaël Moncada

 

For further information:

Bulgarian Presidency: https://eu2018bg.bg/en/programme

EU2017: https://www.eu2017.ee/trio-programme

Euronews: http://www.euronews.com/2017/12/31/bulgaria-takes-up-eu-presidency

European Parliament: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2017/614605/EPRS_BRI(2017)614605_EN.pdf