Joint success stories of Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria: preliminary assessment and outlook for the upcoming Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU
“We agreed today that we have worked together superbly and that in many areas we were able to make considerable progress. We have already been able to work closely with Romania - the next country to assume the presidency - in order to ensure a successful handover”,
Gernot Blümel, Federal Minister for the EU, said following working‑level discussions in Vienna on 23 November 2018 with Lilyana Pavlova, Bulgarian Minister for EU Affairs, George Ciamba, Romanian Minister for EU Affairs, and Marika Linntam, Director General for European Affairs at the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Subsequently, Federal Minister Blümel, along with the Bulgarian and Romanian Ministers for EU Affairs, held a press conference at which they presented an assessment of the Trio Presidency and the outlook until the end of the European legislative period.
Progress achieved on migration, digitalisation and subsidiarity
“Since the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union began on 1 July, we have held some 1 200 meetings and 450 decisions have been taken”,
concluded Blümel. Headway has also been made in Austria’s priority areas:
“We have driven a turnaround on migration and important steps have been taken in the area of digitalisation”,
the minister added. He continued by saying that the attendees of the subsidiarity conference that took place last week in Bregenz also agreed that the principle of subsidiarity should also be brought more to the fore of the political debate on the future of the EU, in order to bring the EU closer to its citizens.
Brexit and Multiannual Financial Framework
Two important dossiers are still at the very top of the European agenda:
“Regarding the Multiannual Financial Framework and the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, intensive and continuous efforts have been necessary and will still be in future. We will do everything we can to make as much progress as possible by the end of the year”,
assured the Federal Minister. The Romanian EU Minister George Ciamba said that the challenges for the his country’s presidency of the Council of the EU encompassed not only Brexit and the negotiations on the financial framework, but also the European elections that will take place in next year. His country wanted to carry forward “the positive spirit of cooperation” so as to “achieve as much as possible together”.
Continuity as a result of cooperation between Trio Presidency countries
Minister Blümel concluded by saying that successful cooperation between the Trio Presidency countries had shown that the concept of 3 member states working together was a useful instrument to ensure continuity in the Council’s agenda.
“During 18 months we were a great team that was results driven and pragmatic in our cooperation”,
said Lilyana Pavlova, adding that the relations between the European Union and the Western Balkans were an important priority for both Presidency countries.
Austria and its predecessors Estonia and Bulgaria make up the Trio Presidency from 1 July 2017 to 31 December 2018. The next Trio Presidency will be made up of Romania (first half of 2019), Finland (second half of 2019) and Croatia (first half of 2020).
More information about the event can be found on the event page.