New EU Presidency of the Council of the EU

New EU Presidency of the Council of the EU

Posted on January 3, 2018

The 1st January 2018, marked the beginning of a new year, but also of a new EU presidency of the Council of the EU, running until 30 June 2018. After 10 years of its accession to the EU, Bulgaria took over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time (in a current trio made up of the presidencies of the Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria).

The priorities of the Bulgarian presidency are driven by its motto “United we stand strong”, aiming to work with its partners on unity among the EU Member States and the EU Institutions to provide concrete solutions to build a stronger, more secure and solidary Europe. In terms of priorities, it will focus on four key areas:

  • Future of Europe and young people – economic growth and social cohesion: working for an active and constructive debate on the Multiannual Financial Framework.
  • Western Balkans: The ambition of the Bulgarian Presidency is to achieve a clear action plan aiming to have a European perspective and connectivity between the Western Balkans and with the member states.
  • Security and stability in a strong and united Europe: The Bulgarian Presidency will work towards long lasting and fair solutions in the area of asylum policy, for efficient policies for return and readmission, for a balanced approach between short and long-term measures aiming at the source of migration.
  • Digital economy and skills for the future: with a focus of completing the EU digital single market and development of digital economy and skills, and linking the education of the young people with learning “the skills for the future” as a way to achieve a competitive, flexible and successful Europe.

 The completion of the Digital Single Market in Europe undoubtedly requires also a big investment in research and innovation, such as and big data, artificial intelligence, use of data and research information. As such, the Bulgarian EU Presidency will encourage discussions on capacity building for the next generation researchers and innovators, as well as investing in the skills needed for the development and use of new technologies, systems, platforms and services for big data analysis.

Key for the nurses, research and innovation are crucial to reduce the increasing burden of major chronic diseases in European societies. Although the last decades have seen important advances in health research and innovation, there are still significant gaps in the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of these conditions. The European Union plays a significant role in supporting health research and innovation. Therefore, the EFN hopes that this Presidency will provide opportunities for nurses to concretely engage and provide their input in this crucial debate. Milka Vasileva, President of the Bulgarian Association of Health Professionals in Nursing, and Member of EFN Executive Committee and EFN Treasurer, will follow-up the Bulgarian EU Presidency closely, and will be representing the EFN in key events being held in Sofia.