On the Bulgarian rotating presidency of the council of EU

TEHRAN, Jul. 29 (MNA) – In 2017 Bulgaria celebrated ten years since the accession to the EU. On the 11th year of our EU Membership, Bulgaria assumed, as of 1 January 2018, the six-months rotating presidency of one of the EU institutions, which is the Council of the European Union.

This was a privilege and responsibility that comes along with being part of the EU family. The intricate way the EU functions is often complicated to comprehend, especially for observers outside the EU. The simplest way of explaining what was the role of Bulgaria during the six months is to liaise between the different EU institutions and to facilitate the legislative process at equidistance from all individual or institutional interests. Another responsibility that comes with the Presidency, was to represent the EU in third countries where there is no EU Delegation, which was the case for the Bulgarian Embassies in several countries, incl. in Iran.

Furthermore Bulgaria had its national program and priorities. Already in the summer of 2017 the three sequential Presidencies – Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria outlined their Trio Programme. In addition, Bulgaria published and outlined its own national programme and priorities for the months from January to July 2018. The motto of the Bulgarian Presidency was “United We Stand Strong”. It has its historical roots and in fact draws directly on the national motto, approved and coin stamped already in 1880, two years after Bulgaria’s Liberation in 1878. The logo of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union combined three distinctive national symbols – the Cyrillic Alphabet, traditional embroidery and the tricolour of the Bulgarian national flag.

Embedded in the logo was the idea of the integrity of the whole (Bulgaria being an integral part of Europe and the EU) and the distinctiveness of the entity (presenting typical national symbols). The thus chosen symbols addressed the matter of unity and solidarity which are pivotal for European Union’s relevance and success. Bulgaria sincerely aimed at being a responsible Presidency of the Council of the EU, relying on the close cooperation with all Members States. We understood very well that in order to be effective, we needed to work with everyone, address all sensitivities and pave the ground for consensual compromise.

Our main priorities were: "Future of Europe and young people – economic growth and social cohesion”, “European perspective and connectivity of the Western Balkans”, “Digital economy and skills needed for the future” and „Security and stability in strong and united Europe”.  

Future of Europe and young people – economic growth and social cohesion: cohesion is the glue which binds us together and allows us to create real unity. The debates on the future Multiannual Financial Framework began and we strived to link these debates with the future of the Cohesion Policy.

European perspective and connectivity of the Western Balkans: It was vital to reaffirm the European perspective of the region. This was the main message of the meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the EU Member States and of the Western Balkan countries in Sofia (17-18 May 2018). We wanted to send the message that the Western Balkans need to build and maintain sustainable peace, security, reconciliation and good-neighbourly relations. We also fostered the connectivity among the countries in the region and between the region and the EU.

Digital economy and skills needed for the future: We strived to foster digital, entrepreneurial and creative skills in our citizens for the digital age. The Estonian Presidency has done a lot for the promotion of the Digital Single Market and data economy. As a reliable partner in the Trio we continued and build upon the achievements of our predecessors.

Security and stability in strong and united Europe: This priority has been elaborated in the Bratislava Declaration and roadmap, as well as the Rome Declaration. Our efforts were directed towards achieving more secure external borders and effective management of migration.

The debates on the future of Europe are setting the European Agenda and the Priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency followed closely the Commission’s roadmap for More United, Stronger and More Democratic Union.

We are confident that as we advanced with these four priorities will directly contributed to reaching our set goals.

Tehran, July 2018

LR/PR

News Code 136160

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