The Deputy Prime Minister for Judicial Reform and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva today discussed Bulgaria’s readiness to assume the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union with EU Council Secretary-General Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen.
“We are focused on effectively preparing the discussions in the Council of the European Union, and we will pay special attention to the topics of migration, security and defence, digitisation, Brexit and, last but not least, the economic dossiers,” Minister Zaharieva told her guest.
She stressed that the preparation was already under way and an extraordinary meeting of the General Affairs Council (GAC) (Art. 50) was scheduled for January 2018 to adopt the additional negotiating directives on transitional arrangements for Brexit. “Bulgaria will be working on more than 200 dossiers during its Presidency. Considering this, we are ready to organise working lunches between the regular GAC meetings and the extraordinary meetings (Art. 50) so as to carry on the discussions and achieve a consensus among Member States on Brexit-related matters,” the Bulgarian Foreign Minister added. She emphasised that this will be one of the central topics but, at the same time, it is exceedingly important to pay just as much attention at the roundtables and working meetings to the European perspective of the Western Balkans, migration, the Union’s Multiannual Financial Framework and Cohesion Policy.
During the meeting, the two discussed other matters as well, related to the coordination between the Secretariat-General of the Council and the Bulgarian Foreign Minister for the period of the Bulgarian Presidency. The schedule of Deputy Prime Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva will be adjusted not only for her duties as Chair of the General Affairs Council but also for her responsibility to stand in for the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini for the period of the Presidency.
The working meeting is part of a two-day visit to Sofia of EU Council Secretary-General Mikkelsen, during which he conferred with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and the Cabinet members.