The Permanent Representation of the Republic of Bulgaria to the EU represents the interests of Bulgaria in the EU decision making process
The Permanent Representation is the biggest diplomatic mission of the Republic of Bulgaria. Its structure differs from the one of a traditional diplomatic mission as experts from all Bulgarian ministries are part of the Permanent Representation’s team. The diplomats in the Permanent Representation ensure that the Bulgarian positions are presented and defended in the EU institutions.
The specific structure of the Permanent Representation is determined by the unique supranational character of the European Union and its decision making process. EU policies and legislation are prepared in three distinct formats:
Ambassador Rumen ALEXANDROV is the Permanent Representative to the EU. He has overall responsibility for the work of the Representation and participates in the weekly meetings of the Committee of Permanent Representative (COREPER II). COREPER II discusses mainly political issues related to budget and finance, cohesion policy, justice and home affairs, external relations and institutional affairs of the EU.
Counsellor Ivanka TASHEVA is the Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU and participates in the weekly meetings of the Committee of Deputy Permanent Representatives (COREPER I). COREPER I discusses issues related to social policy, economics, energy, environment, agriculture and fisheries, health, education and culture.
Counsellor Asya TSVETANOVA represents Bulgaria in the weekly meetings of the Political and Security Committee (PSC) that deals with issues related to common foreign and security policy of the EU.
Contacts of the members of the Permanent Representation team could be find here.
HOW DOES THE PERMANENT REPRESENTATION WORK
All diplomats at the Permanent Representation of Bulgaria are responsible for participating in the negations on the EU policies and legislation in the country’s best interests. They ensure that Bulgaria voice is heard when EU laws and decisions are adopted. The diplomats participate on a daily basis in working groups at the Council of the European Union, together with their colleagues from the other Member States.
Bulgaria is represented at all levels of the decision-making process – the European Council, Council of Ministers, COREPER II and I, PSC and various working groups and parties.
At the highest level of the decision making process is the European Council, where Bulgaria is represented by the Prime Minister.
Depending on the topic, Bulgarian ministers participate in the different formats of the Council of the EU. The Council is one of the main legislative bodies that participate in the EU decision making process. All EU issues, from foreign policy to agriculture and fisheries, are discussed and agreed in the Council. The other legislative body is the European Parliament where Bulgaria is represented by 17 elected members.
EU works in “the spirit of compromise”. As a rule, the President of the Council meetings aims for everyone’s agreement in the negation processes on a certain piece of legislation and rarely calls a vote. Depending on the issue under discussion, the Council of the EU could take a decision by simple majority, qualified majority or unanimous vote. On particularly sensitive issues the decisions are taken by unanimous vote, while more and more issues tend to be decided by a qualified majority. The collegial spirit of the decision-making process in the Council of the EU requires that Member States show an understanding for each other’s concerns.
HOW DOES BULGARIA APPROVE ITS POSITIONS
The adoption of coherent Bulgarian positions is done by the Council for European Affairs (CEA). The CEA makes sure that interests of different stakeholders (administration, NGOs, syndicates) are taken into consideration when preparing and adopting a Bulgarian position.
The positions of Bulgaria for the EU decision making process are prepared by the respective Bulgarian ministry. The position is prepared by a working group that functions within the ministry and is composed by representatives of the state administration, NGOs, civil organizations and syndicates.
The most important political decisions related to the Bulgarian membership to the EU are taken by the Council of Ministers.
The general coordination on the preparation and approval of the Bulgarian positions is carried out by two administrative units:
- The EU Affairs Coordination Directorate within the Administration to the Council of Ministers performs the general coordination with the respective ministries and institutions in the country on EU Affairs matters, and
- The EU Policies and Institutions Directorate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is responsible for the positions, expressed at COREPER, for the contacts with the Permanent Representation of Bulgaria to the EU, the contacts with the Embassies of the EU Member States in Bulgaria, and with the Bulgarian Embassies in the other EU Member States.
More information on the participation of Bulgaria in the EU decision making process could be find here.