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Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2018

Bulgaria has taken over the EU’s six-month rotating presidency, but it is likely to find that its priorities do not exactly coincide with those of other member states. The Bulgarian government wants its presidency to be remembered, first and foremost, for having advanced the cause of western Balkan countries keen to join the EU. The government also yearns for progress on Bulgaria’s ambitions to join the eurozone and the EU’s Schengen passport-free travel regime — though it recognises that these goals are separate from the job of managing the EU presidency. By contrast, political leaders in France and Germany — supported by Brussels — will be focused during the next six months on constructing a framework for closer integration among the eurozone’s 19 states. This is expected to involve ideas for completing the EU’s banking union and transforming the crisis-fighting European Stability Mechanism into a European Monetary Fund.

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