Bulgarian presidency of the Council of EU will be successful. And what is more - it will be considered as such unanimously. Because there has not been unsuccessful presidency until now.
The actual contribution of each
presidency is evaluated according to the number of closed European dossiers, i.e.
these issues that are the topics of
several consecutive presidencies and are related to key spheres for the Union.
Here, Bulgaria’s role in moderating the discussions and finding joint decisions
is entirely a function of the positions of individual countries and their
willingness to make compromises in
the name of the common good. Something that is achieved much harder lately. At
present, there are nearly 120 dossiers on the agenda, and it is expected about 20
more to be opened. What is more, the dossiers are not closed separately, but in
thematic packages. It would be an achievement if, during the Bulgarian
presidency, several packages are closed, including the one concerning the
migration problems and the right to asylum (containing 7 dossiers, the most
complex being the renegotiation of the Dublin Regulation), or the EU energy
The Western Balkans mark serious climb upwards in the
priorities of the EU. It is because
Europe is afraid of the Western Balkans, but
is also worried about them. Particularly due to the danger of increased influence
of external factors (Russia, Turkey, radical Islam), which is caused mainly by
the lack of interest in the region by the EU in the recent years. The
achievable goal for the Bulgarian presidency would be for the Strategy (the so
called Thessaloniki Agenda adopted during the Greek Presidency in 2003, giving
European integration prospects for the whole region) to be reanimated, new
processes to be generated, policies to be made more dynamic. And as a more
ambitious plan – a Sofia road map for the European integration of the Western
Balkans to be adopted.
The context: During the Bulgarian Presidency there will be an intensive debate on the future of the EU based on Juncker’s proposals, the key phase of the Brexit negotiations will take place, the discussion on the future EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (the budget) will begin.
All these against a background of several additional issues:
Germany: The difficulties in forming a
government reduce Germany’s involvement in the EU, and will actually lead to
delayed examination and possible closing of some European dossiers, because it is
logical to wait for the determination of the national position by the new
Poland: Activating the procedure for the
suspension of the country’s voting rights (unprecedented) will cause new
tension on the East-West axis of the EU, as well as between the Commission and
some member-states (Hungary on the first place). It is likely that an
extraordinary (and extremely hard) Council of the EU will be held in the
beginning of the 2018 (presided by Bulgaria), when the fate of the proposal
will be decided.
Catalunya: The EU’s position is
unambiguous - not recognising the independence of the region. However, the
political tension in Spain will affect the Union’s work as a whole, and at the
same time, separatist tendencies in other countries will be urged.
What is important for the presidency is not only
to be considered successful but also to be remembered as such.