Bulgaria in the run-up to its EU presidency
On 1 January 2018 Bulgaria takes over the rotating presidency of the EU Council - six months earlier than originally planned. Bulgaria's presidency was brought forward because of Brexit. The country's commentators are less worried about the change in schedule than about certain particularities of Bulgarian politics.
Pretend to work and look good while you're at it
As long as the Bulgarian officials spend most of their time dealing with protocol the EU Council presidency could come off just fine, Kapital Daily writes sarcastically:
“Many believe that in the coming six months the entire EU will dance to Bulgaria's tune. Of course they're mistaken. The Council presidency is no big deal. ... For the most part the Bulgarian officials' tasks are limited to matters of protocol. They'll be able to show how good they are at pretending to work, keeping things superficial and making a good impression. Real results and meaningful initiatives are not their thing.”
Government in a tight spot
The decision about imposing further EU sanctions on Russia will be taken during the Bulgarian EU Council presidency. 24 Chasa fears that could sow discord in the government:
“[Prime minister] Borisov is of two minds regarding the sanctions. On the one hand he rejects them, on the other he is resolute in his support of the EU's position that Russia must honour the Minsk agreement and stop supporting the rebels in Donbass. Now, however, the pro-Russian [nationalist] parties Attack and IMRO also form part of the governing coalition. ... The fact that Bulgarian President Radev invited Putin for a state visit [in March 2018] could make things even more complicated for Borisov. ... He'll have a hard time keeping both his coalition partners and Brussels happy. The upshot: any step he takes could spark a government crisis.”