Since 1 January 2018 up until 30 June, Bulgaria will chair the European Council meetings and set its agenda. In the programme published on the Presidency website, Bulgaria presented four priorities for the upcoming semester: 1) The future of Europe and young people 2) European perspective and connectivity of the Western Balkans 3) Security and stability in a strong and united Europe and 4) Digital economy and skills needed for the future.
The Bulgarian Presidency will work to build on the results of the debate on the future of work and to make further progress in finding solutions for productive employment and sustainable and balanced economic growth. The aim is to actively work to make free movement of workers and provision of services in the EU easier, as well as encouraging the implementation of the early childhood development concept and for solving the problems encountered by people with disabilities.
In the area of employment and social policy, special attention will be given to the changing realities in European societies -negative demographic trends, the impact of technology on the labour market and the negative effects of unemployment, poverty and social exclusion. It is necessary to recognise new and innovative approaches in employment policy and to focus on youth and a better link between education, skills and labour market needs.
Among the foreseen actions, the Bulgarian Presidency will:
- Focus its efforts on successful negotiations with the European Parliament on the directive for Posting of Workers in the framework of the provision of services, and on the European Accessibility Act and the discussion for modernising EU law in the area of the coordination of social security systems.
- Put attention on gender equality and the role of ‘Women in the Digital World’. They will strive to achieve positive results on the Directive of the European Parliament and the Council on Work-Life Balance for Parents and Carers.
- Work towards creating a better environment in which to develop social economy and social entrepreneurship as a way of providing better employment opportunities to vulnerable groups on the labour market.
- Foster the debate on the future of the European Social Fund and the programmes in support of Social Europe.
- Work on the implementation of the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
In the area of healthcare the topic of a healthy diet for children, as a key health determinant and a prerequisite for a healthy and active European population will be of paramount importance. We will organise discussions on the need for proven effectiveness and affordability of medicines.
Read the full programme here