From 1 January to 30 June 2018, Bulgaria will hold the six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) for the first time ever.
Coming between the Estonian and Austrian Presidencies, the country will be responsible for steering negotiations over the last new initiatives of the Juncker Commission, as the EU policy cycle gradually moves toward its end, with European elections scheduled for June 2019. For the past few months, the circular economy has been high on the environmental policy agenda, and this is unlikely to change with the advent of the Bulgarian Presidency. The Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water has already announced their intention to encourage Member States to keep high environmental protection standards, improve air quality, and promote sustainable growth and the green economy.
The Bulgarian Presidency will seek to focus on the transition to a circular economy with resource efficiency and mitigation to achieve sustainable growth across the European Union. Active work will be done to create a supportive environment and conditions for implementing eco-innovative solutions. The main priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU in the field of environmental policy will be the circular economy and eco-innovation. Focus will be placed on improving the quality of the ambient air and better regulation.
In the Programme of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU (adopted on 6 December 2017) it is specifically stated that:
- The Bulgarian Presidency will continue to work on the ongoing initiatives – part of the “Circular Economy” Package, ready for their completion. With the adoption of the Waste Legislative Package, clear and long-term goals will be set. aiming to increase recycling, reduce landfilling and improve waste management.
- The Bulgarian Presidency will launch discussions on the so-called “Circular Economy Minipackage”. Recognizing the importance of the initiatives included in the minipackage, the Presidency plans to hold a political debate on the EU Plastics Strategy and on the interface between chemicals, products and waste legislation at the EU Environment Council in March 2018.
- Related to this initiative are also the assessment of the implementation of the REACH Regulation and the stocktaking of chemicals regulation: Fitness check of the most relevant chemicals legislation (excluding REACH), the results of which will be addressed during the Bulgarian Presidency.
More information you can find in the Weber Shandwick Guide on the Bulgarian Presidency Priorities