Bulgaria Takes on EU Presidency

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Bulgaria took over the rotating presidency of the European Council from Estonia on January 1. “Bulgaria takes charge of the EU presidency at a key moment for the union,” said Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. “May the slogan ‘strength in unity’ guide us. I am confident that we shall work with success on our priorities, on continuity.”

During the next six months, the presidency aims to focus on four key areas: the future of Europe and young people, the Western Balkans, security and stability and the digital economy. Brexit will also be a priority, and Sofia is also expected to push for better ties with Turkey.

Bulgaria assumes the presidency at a time when the country is under increasing pressure to clean up its act. Together with neighbouring Romania it remains – more than a decade after joining the EU – still under special supervision from Brussels due to its failure to fight corruption, an issue that has prevented both countries from joining the Schengen area. According to Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index, Bulgaria is the most corrupt country in the EU. However, on January 2, President Rumen Radev vetoed anti-corruption legislation approved by the Bulgarian parliament in December, saying it doesn’t do enough to counteract graft.

“I believe that the law does not create an adequate legal basis for tackling corruption, and will in fact make it even more difficult to fight,” said Mr Radev.

The presidency of the European Council rotates among the EU member states every six months. During this six month period, the presidency chairs and sets the agenda of meetings at every level in the Council, helping to ensure the continuity of the EU’s work in the Council. Member states holding the presidency work together closely in groups of three, called ‘trios’. This system was introduced by the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. The trio sets long-term goals and prepares a common agenda determining the topics and major issues that will be addressed by the Council over an 18 month period. On the basis of this programme, each of the three countries prepares its own more detailed six month programme.

The current trio is made up of the presidencies of the Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria.

On January 2, long queues formed in the rain outside the Bulgarian National Bank in Sofia as locals waited patiently to get their hands on a special 10 leva coin, minted to celebrate the Bulgarian presidency.

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Bansko, Bulgaria - December, 6, 2015: Two Bansko cable car cabins and snow mountains peaks

NATO Opens New Moldova Office

NATO Moldova

Georgia Leads Emerging Europe in Ease of Doing Business Report

Investment in Croatia’s Regions Key to Further Development

CAKOVEC, CROATIA - JULY 02: Parish Church of Saint Nicholas in Cakovec, Croatia, on July 02, 2016.

Polish Labour Market Deficits Are Impacting All

Construction site with crane and building. Construction site in western europe - in Poland.

The Problem With Central European City-States

Budapest Hungary - Panoramic skyline view of the famous Buda Castle Royal Palace with the Buda Hills and Matthias Church at background at sunset

PE and VC Investment In CEE Is At an Eight-Year High

venture capital

Estonia Posts EU’s Highest Inflation Rate in November

Rising food and grocery store prices is estonia and cost of living concept. Man counting food and consumer goods money with pen, paper and calculator at home. Budget of disadvantaged and low income family.

Lithuania Handed Top Marks for Business Services

Beautiful panorama of Vilnius Old Town taken from Gediminas hill; Lithuania

OECD: Tightening Labour Markets Sustain Growth in Emerging Europe

workers, employment

Romanians Take to the Streets in New Mass Protest

Assaults on the Judiciary: How CEE Governments Are Trying to Restrict Judicial Independence, and Why It’s Not Working… For Now

poland romania justice system

Škoda too Strong for VW Group

MLADA BOLESLAV CZECH REPUBLIC - MAY 30: Skoda Octavia on conveyor line during Doors Open Day at Skoda Auto a.s. factory. Skoda auto celebrated 120 years since its founding on May 30 2015 in Mlada Boleslav.

Plovdiv — an emerging outsourcing destination

Hungary’s Solar Dreamer

hand sun and blue sky with copyspace showing freedom or solar power concept

Romanian President Appoints Country’s First Female PM

viorica dancila prime minister of romania

Emerging Europe Makes Some Progress on Closing Gender Gap

world economic forum gender gap report

Czech Real Estate Market Is Top CEE Performer

Prague skyscrapers in blue hour with purple sky. Modern building architecture after sunset. Office center in capital city. Czech republic lighting buildings.

Sarajevo Stock Exchange Connected to SEE Link

sarajevo stock exchange

China Eyes Moldovan Trade Agreement

CRICOVA MOLDOVA July 24 2017 :Underground wine cellar with collection of bottles in niches. Winery with 120 km of underground passages for wine storage

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