During the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the period 1 January – 30 June 2018, the Republic of Bulgaria will strive in a positive spirit towards achieving future-oriented and realistic results, following the principles of transparency and accountability and realizing an “open to citizens” Presidency.



The Bulgarian Presidency will work for improving the wellbeing of all citizens of the European Union through promoting cohesion, which creates the conditions for unity and solidarity. The Bulgarian Presidency will work towards finding the best solutions not only for the future of the Cohesion Policy, but for the overall cohesion of the European society. Achieving specific results and providing European value added are very important for the European project and its implementation through the EU budget. At the same time, they are characteristic features of the policy of cohesion, which leads to tangible results for all regions of the EU. The future of this policy is therefore an important priority for the Bulgarian Presidency. Continuing the debate on the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) post-2020 is one of the key priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency, in order to support a faster and more effective process of negotiations. Bulgaria will work towards continuing the targeted EU assistance for creating sustainable jobs, economic growth and social cohesion by keeping the role of the Cohesion Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy of the EU. Bulgaria  will also support the efforts to apply and implement the principles of good financial governance and budgetary discipline, as well as for attaining concrete results.


Placing a strong emphasis on the stability of EU finances, the Bulgarian Presidency will launch initiatives to continue the debate on the next Multiannual Financial Framework. In the context of the debate on growth and competitiveness of the European economy, Bulgaria will raise the issue of the future use of financial instruments. Bulgaria will work on the successful implementation of the future financial instruments and the creation of a framework based on lessons learned and aimed at more efficient and flexible governance. Investing in economic growth and jobs will remain a top priority. In order to ensure their implementation and taking into account the trends of budget constraints and the emerging new challenges, it is crucial to use the full potential of all programmes and instruments. The European Union needs strong and adequately funded community policies with complementing rather than competing instruments.  


The Bulgarian Presidency will strive for an open debate on the future of Cohesion Policy and its role in the implementation of the EU’s priorities after 2020, working to preserve its key role in the EU budget after 2020 as a fundamental policy for long-term investment in growth, employment and balanced territorial development of the Union. Taking into account the need for simplification of the legislation and the rules and procedures, widely identified by Member States, Bulgaria will work to optimise the model of shared management and effective implementation of the principle of proportionality with a focus on results. The Bulgarian Presidency will work on the harmonisation of the rules of the Union’s funds and instruments and finding the right balance between grants and financial instruments, as well as between traditional priorities and new challenges.


In today’s environment of globalisation and growing world population, the role of agricultural production and rural development as important economic, social and political factors is growing. It is of crucial importance for the future CAP framework beyond 2020 to be defined in a way that will help to improve the sustainability of agricultural holdings and ensure a stable level of farmers’ incomes. Within the discussion on the future CAP, the Bulgarian Presidency intends to put emphasis on preserving the role of CAP and the instruments of the current CAP structure that have proven their effectiveness. Despite Brexit and the resulting negative effect on the EU budget, CAP should remain a strong and adequately funded community policy in view of the growing challenges worldwide, related to instability of agricultural markets, demographic changes, food security and limited natural resources.


The Bulgarian Presidency will work on creating optimal conditions for strong and sustainable economic growth in the EU through the initiatives to strengthen the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). The Presidency will promote the discussions presented in the EU strategic documents, including the Five Presidents’ Report, the Commission’s White Paper and others, aiming at deepening the EMU, including risk reduction in the banking sector as part of the measures to complete the Banking Union, as well as building the Capital Market Union. During its Presidency, Bulgaria will work towards finding an acceptable balance and compromise  on risk reduction in the banking sector, and continue the work on the legislative proposal for the creation of a European Deposit Guarantee Scheme as part of the measures to complete the Banking Union.

The Presidency will continue to work on measures for building the Capital Markets Union with a view to strike a balance between bank and non-bank financing, strengthening the European financial system as well as to create more funding opportunities for small and medium-size enterprises.


The Bulgarian Presidency will work towards safeguarding the high standards of environmental protection and the citizen’s quality of life by means of sustainable growth and a “green economy” focusing on the transition to the circular economy and eco-innovative initiatives, aiming at efficient use of resources and minimising harmful impact on the environment and human health, including through new technologies.


In the current political, social and cultural processes in the EU, the Bulgarian Presidency will focus the efforts on common values and the unifying links between the European citizens. During the Bulgarian Presidency culture will be regarded one of the main drivers for the future development of the EU based on a new vision of its past with an emphasis on young people and digital opportunities. It is of special significance for Bulgaria that the Presidency will take place during the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.


Young people have a central place in the debate on the Future of Europe, as they bring new and innovative ideas, and it is upon them that the future competitiveness of our economies depends on; they are the ones who will live in the renewed European Union. The Bulgarian Presidency will strive to encourage the pro-active civil and political involvement of young Europeans in building a secure, united and peaceful society by respecting the European values. The aim will be to keep the level of European investment in education and research, including in relation to providing access to education and development of skills at any age; encouraging digital, entrepreneurial and creative skills; providing adequate infrastructure for education, training and research. A key priority of the Bulgarian Presidency will be the continuation of the work on the Euro- 10 European Commission package on “Modernising Education – Youth Initiative” and the progress on the New Skills Agenda for Europe. Emphasis will be placed on the mid-term evaluation of the Erasmus+ Programme and facilitating the political discussion on its future, in the context of the forthcoming proposal of the European Commission on the new MFF. The Bulgarian Presidency supports the European Solidarity Corps and the European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships, since it is precisely the young people who are the key to securing sustainable development for each country, based on the effective link between education and the labour market, as well as values, such as solidarity, tolerance and cooperation.


The European Union has a clear interest in stable, secure and prosperous Western Balkans, where its rules and values are respected. Delivering a tangible European perspective for the Western Balkans including a dialogue, based on fulfilment of the conditions and the principle of own merit, political will and decisive reforms by these countries, is key not only for the region, but for the European Union as a whole. The Leaders’ Agenda foresees an informal Summit of the Heads of State and Government devoted to the Western Balkans – on 17 May 2018 in Sofia. In February 2018, the European Commission will publish a strategy, announced by the Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker as a “Strategy of the Commission for a successful EU accession of Serbia and Montenegro as frontrunner candidates in the Western Balkans”. A key priority of the Bulgarian Presidency will be the EU Enlargement Policy, which continues to be the most effective instrument for guaranteeing peace, stability and prosperity in the Western Balkans. The Bulgarian Presidency’s ambition is to be a Balkan Presidency. The Bulgarian Presidency attaches great importance to deepening regional cooperation and developing good neighbourly relations. The topic of the connectivity of the Western Balkans is of particular importance – the so-called “Connectivity Agenda” (transport, communications, energy, education, digital) with the understanding that its aim is to improve specifically the links with the EU Single Market. The step-by-step adoption of the EU Roaming Rules by the Western Balkan countries as well, through gradual reduction of the charges and increasing the broadband internet access opportunities, is an important initiative for digital connectivity.


As Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Bulgaria will work on building and implementing effective mechanisms for increasing the security of EU citizens, strengthening border controls and a more effective management of migration processes. The current security environment is characterised by a complex range of inter-related threats – asymmetrical, hybrid, internal and external, as well as risks containing new elements – economic, financial, energy, environmental, societal and legal. In the overall context of the fight against terrorism, the Bulgarian Presidency will encourage the use of all possibilities for improving the cooperation between law-enforcement and security services, as well as the exchange of information with European agencies. In-depth discussions are needed on the security checks along the borders and within the Union. The Bulgarian Presidency will work to restore the normal functioning of the Schengen Area. As regards measures for enhancing ethnic and religious tolerance and for countering acts of anti-Semitism, the focus will be on the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom of religion and confession, and countering anti-Semitism. Bulgaria  will work towards improving resilience and maintaining high standards in the area of cyber security in the EU, taking into account the need to strengthen the trust of the European citizens and enterprises in the digital space and in the digital technology realm, in view of the vulnerability to cyber-threats of the web-based economy and society, especially when large scale cyber-attacks are becoming a more and more frequent phenomenon.


Achieving a sustainable system for managing migration and increasing the effectiveness of the return policy will be a key priority, and to this end we will work on strengthening the dialogue with third countries. Of paramount importance will be to achieve progress on the reform of the Common European Asylum System based on the principles of responsibility and true solidarity, and to continue the discussion on the legislative acts in the framework of that system.


During the Bulgarian Presidency, the priorities in the area of justice will be focused on providing rapid and efficient justice, including by electronic means, improving the business environment and safeguarding the rights in family matters. In order to ensure effective prosecution of fraud and other crimes affecting the EU’s financial interests, the Bulgarian Presidency will work as a matter of priority for the institutionalisation and the launch of the work of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. The Presidency will also aim to organise intensive discussions on the preparation of the new EU e-Justice Strategy 2019-2023, as well as on e-evidence. This topic is closely linked with enhancing the effectiveness of the Judiciary, as well as improving the judicial cooperation between Member States. In the field of family law, the Bulgarian Presidency will work as a matter of priority for the adoption of a revised text of the Regulation in the Jurisdiction, Recognition and Enforcement of Judgements in Matrimonial Matters in the area of parental responsibility and international child abduction , taking into account the fact that the proposal affects a large number of citizens in the Member States and refers to particularly sensitive aspects of their lives.


The Bulgarian Presidency will strive to achieve a stable Energy Union and increase the potential for regional cooperation by promoting the construction of the necessary infrastructure, with a view to ending the isolation of some of the Member States from the European gas and electricity grids. Ensuring the security of gas supply through diversification of sources and routes, protecting the critical energy infrastructure, as well as measures related to increasing energy efficiency as a contribution to the reduction of energy consumption, are among the key issues the Bulgarian Presidency will work on with a view to finding sustainable solutions.


As regards the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), including its instruments – the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), the main goal will be consolidating the Union’s role as a strong global actor on the international scene. Together with the European External Action Service, the Presidency will work towards the full implementation of all the initiatives ensuing from the EU Global Strategy, deepening EU-NATO cooperation, as well as enhancing security in the Western Balkans by capacity building of the countries of that region so they can tackle the security challenges autonomously. The Bulgarian Presidency will play a pro-active role for the practical implementation of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) for reinforcing European security and defence. The Bulgarian Presidency will continue the work for the adoption of Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council establishing a European Defence Industrial Development Programme. The aim is to create incentives for the European production of high-tech defence equipment, the cost for which to be covered jointly by the European Defence Fund and EU Member States.


Driven by the understanding that the EU should take full advantage of the potential of the existing macro-regional strategies, the Bulgarian Presidency will work to enhance the visibility of the Danube and the Black Sea regions where appropriate, including by increasing their connectivity on the basis of the potential of the two regions.



The Bulgarian Presidency will promote an environment of competitiveness, which is important for the economic prosperity of the EU citizens. Bulgaria will work on removing the legal barriers to cross-border trade and on making real progress to tackle the existing regulatory barriers that hamper establishment and cross-border trade in services and goods within the EU. The Bulgarian Presidency will encourage the reduction of unjustified and disproportionate requirements for businesses in the area of services by applying a more sophisticated notification procedure for compliance with European requirements and establishing the relevant instruments for supporting citizens and businesses in handling the necessary administrative formalities, facilitated access to information and online procedures. The Bulgarian Presidency will 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;

- Developing intermodal transportation, enhancing the competitiveness and sustainability of air transport in the EU;

- Striking a balance and finding compromise solutions in order to achieve positive results on the legislative proposals in the Mobility Package that take into account the national specificities of the transport sector in each Member State;

- Fair and efficient taxation of corporate profits and fight against tax evasion and avoidance  through enhanced administrative cooperation and effective exchange of information between Member States;

- Creating the conditions for making audio-visual production and Copyright protection elements of economic growth, innovation, and enhancing the legal protection of authors and rightholders.

As regards the external dimension of competitiveness, Bulgaria will work to consolidate international trade as a means to maintain the high standards of living of EU citizens and to continue the Union’s commitment for a progressive and ambitious programme in the area of trade and investment, promoting inclusive growth and sustainable development.


The Bulgarian Presidency will place the emphasis on the Digital Single Market as a source of growth and competitiveness in order to achieve a greater share of users of online services and a rapid penetration of information and communication technologies in all sectors of the economy. Tackling the challenges in this area is related to creating a clear and simplified legal environment that allows consumers to fully engage in the Digital Single Market and make effective use of the opportunities of the internet environment regardless of where they are in the EU. The completion of the Digital Single Market in Europe undoubtedly requires also a big investment in research and innovation, such as for instance, cloud computing and big data, artificial intelligence, maximum use of data and research information. Bulgaria will focus on strategic areas where the potential of digital research infrastructure can be put to the best use, as well as on wide and free access to publications and data, including through the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), and high-performance computing initiatives, such as EuroHPC. In order to deepen the integration in the services sector and to simplify the regulatory framework to support businesses, the Presidency will continue the work on the legislative proposals of the Services Package, as well as on the expected new proposal regarding relations between the online platforms and businesses. The development of a competitive Digital Single Market with a high level of user protection through promoting cross-border e-trade in goods, offering digital content and providing digital services are among the tasks of the Bulgarian Presidency. At the same time, balanced compromise solutions will be sought on the regulatory framework in the area of telecommunications, taking into account the interests of all stakeholders. The Bulgarian Presidency will strive to find solutions guaranteeing the protection of citizens’ privacy, of personal data and of the confidentiality of communications in a way that makes the development of digital innovation possible.


The Bulgarian Presidency will work to promote entrepreneurship based on digital technology and innovation which has a leading role in the EU’s economic and social development. This includes: progress in implementing the Start-up and Scale-up Initiative; developing alternative sources of funding and improving the business environment for small and medium-sized enterprises in line with the “Think Small First” principle; incentives for social innovation in the economy, in education, healthcare, information and communication technologies with a focus on young people, the entrepreneurship ecosystem and the development of skills and competences for the 21st century. During its Presidency Bulgaria will encourage discussions on capacity building for the next generation researchers and innovators, as well as investing in the skills needed for the development and use of new technologies, systems, platforms and services for big data analysis. In this dialogue, Bulgaria will take into account as much as possible the need for targeted schemes at regional level, in order to ensure that investments achieve maximum impact and inclusion of peripheral urban areas. In addition,Bulgaria will work actively on modernising the European education systems and curricula by promoting the dissemination of common European values, social inclusion by means of formal and informal learning; consolidation of the role of teachers as key actors in the educational process and their role in improving the quality and effectiveness of education; revision of the European Framework of key competences and wide-ranging introduction of information and communication technologies at all levels of the education system, promoting basic competences, including mathematics and science as a key factor for improving the quality of the education system.


The benefits of the free movement of workers for the smooth functioning of the Single Market and the development of competitiveness of the European economy are indisputable. European citizens should be able to make the most of the job opportunities within the Single Market. The Bulgarian Presidency will work for:

- promoting the early childhood development concept and investing in early childhood education and care;

- a better environment for the development of social economy, with emphasis on social innovation;

- equal opportunities and non-discrimination with a focus on gender equality and the role of “Women in the Digital World”;

- fostering full social inclusion for people with disabilities;

- active policies to combat poverty and social exclusion;

- facilitating free movement of workers and the provision of services in the EU by revising the Regulations on the coordination of social security systems and improving the existing rules on Posting of Workers in the framework of the provision of services;

- recognising the role of legal migration in the development of the European economy and regulating the conditions for entry and residence of highly qualified third-country workers (Blue Card Directive);

 - protecting health and improving European citizens’ health by providing access to effective medicines at affordable prices and promoting a healthy diet for children; promoting physical activity; ensuring better health and safety at work.

The Bulgarian Presidency sees the “future of work” in identifying the right skills for the new jobs and a better planning and interaction of the policies in the area of education, training and employment with emphasis on youth employment and the skills and competences, necessary for the 21st century



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