On 2 February 2018 our office attended the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU Breakfast Update hosted by the ALDE Party. The meeting contained short speeches and a question and answer section with Bulgarian MEPs Ilhan Kyuckyuk and Iskra Mihaylova. They provided an insight into the challenges facing the Bulgarian Presidency one month into their six-month seat and the challenges they face as both liberals and, politically, as members of the opposition party in Bulgaria.

Mr. Kyuckyuk’s speech focussed on integration of the Western Balkans and safety of the EU’s neighbours in a modern climate. Both politicians emphasised the need for continuation of work which  began during the Estonian presidency, as well as the need to campaign for a modern Europe of values with liberal colleagues. Bulgaria is aiming for a practical presidency, setting up Austria and Romania to continue such progress.

The priorities in both speeches and following a host of questions ranging from practical realities of the Bulgarian presidency, through Russia, to trade negotiation, focused on finalising trade deals already under way with Mexico and Mercosur (amongst others). There was no mention of specifics or how this progress would be achieved, however, Mr. Kyuckyuk confirmed that it is not possible for Bulgaria to choose its neighbours in reference to Russia.

Our office will continue to monitor closely the work carried out by the Bulgarian Presidency over the coming months.