News archive - Bulgaria presents Presidency programme - Western Balkans is one of the priorities

On January 1, 2018, a decade after its accession to the EU, Bulgaria will take over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time. 

The Bulgarian Presidency will work on youth and security issues as horizontal priorities, in view of the complex nature of the challenges facing young people and the current security environment. A specific priority of the Bulgarian Presidency is the European perspective and connectivity of the Western Balkans. As an EU Member State with an Euro-Atlantic outlook, Bulgaria will focus its efforts on the strategic priorities of the European Union, maintaining good neighbourly relations and regional cooperation, working further on the implementation of the EU Strategic Agenda.

European Perspective and Connectivity of the Western Balkans

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 Jeanne-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.

Presidency programme in R&I

In the area of Research and Innovation the Bulgarian Presidency will propose for adoption Council Conclusions on the optimisation of knowledge transfer and acceleration of research results, including broader access to research results for industry and society throughout the EU regarding the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor – ITER, and Conclusions on the roadmap for governance and funding for the European Open Science Cloud. Bulgaria will work on extending the term of the Regulation on Euratom Programme for research and training of the European Atomic Energy Community (2014-2018) in addition to the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation 'Horizon 2020' until 31 December 2020. The Bulgarian Presidency will start work on the Proposal for a Regulation on the framework for cooperation in high performance computing (EuroHPC).

The Presidency will also pursue a dialogue to support the next generations of EU researchers with a focus on open science skills, including interdisciplinary methods, entrepreneurship and use of Big Data. In particular, a debate on a European Skills Agenda for young researchers will bring a new focus on specific measures for supporting highly qualified human resources in research and innovation. In this context, the Bulgarian Presidency will also seek resolution of political issues affecting national systems as a result of brain drain of both young and highly educated people.

In the light of the discussions regarding the next MFF and the 9th Research and Innovation Framework Programme, together with the study of the possibilities for promoting public-private partnerships, Bulgaria will organise a European conference 'Food 2030' in Plovdiv in June to provide a platform for discussion of the role of science and innovation for the future of food, healthy eating and the use of future food resources.


Source and further information: Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Geographical focus
  • European Union (EU 27)
  • Western Balkans
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary

Entry created by Admin on December 27, 2017
Modified on December 27, 2017