Bulgaria assumes Presidency of the Council of the EU

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Presidency changes hands on 1 January 2018 Bulgaria assumes Presidency of the Council of the EU

On 1 January Bulgaria assumed the Presidency. For the next six months these are the topics that it will be putting at the heart of the EU: economic growth and social cohesion, the Western Balkans, the digital economy, stability and security in Europe.

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The Bulgarian flag and the flag of the European Union fly side by side.

Bulgaria intends to put the concept of unity more at the heart of its Presidency.

Photo: iStock/Getty Images

For the first time since it joined the EU in 2007, Bulgaria will be taking over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for a period of six months.

"United we stand strong" is the motto of the Bulgarian Presidency. Bulgaria has made a conscious decision to adopt the motto of its own National Assembly and coat of arms, in order to place firmly at the heart of its political programme the idea of unity and community – a value that is central to the EU.

The priorities of the next six months

Bulgaria intends to further develop the European Union during its Presidency. The focus will be on the following topics:

  • The future of Europe and young people – a cohesive Europe that closes economic and social divides
  • The Western Balkans – European prospects and integration of the Western Balkan states
  • Security and stability in a strong, united Europe, and
  • The digital economy and skills for the future.

The Presidency of the Council rotates among the EU member states every 6 months. During this 6-month period, the Presidency chairs meetings at every level in the Council. Since 2009 the member states holding the Presidency have worked together closely in groups of three for a period of 18 months. These "trios", as they are known, set long-term goals and prepare a common agenda that will be addressed by the Council over the 18 months. On the basis of this programme, each of the three countries prepares its own more detailed 6-month programme. The current trio is made up of the Presidencies of Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria.