A conference in the framework of Deputy Prime Minister Meglena Kuneva's European Debates Initiative was held in Sofia Thursday to highlight France's expertise as a holder of the rotating Presidency of the EU. The head of France's General Secretariat for European Affairs, Philippe Leglise-Costa, spoke at the meeting about his country's planning of past EU presidencies. France has held the Presidency 12 times, and Bulgaria will have its first stint in the second half of 2018.
Leglise-Costa said Bulgaria will be watched closely during its Presidency of the bloc. Therefore, the country should be a model in every respect, both in the planning process and in the reforms. On the other hand, this is a major investment, he said.
While planning the six-month Presidency, it is necessary to talk with the other member states and the EU institutions and to seek compromise and convergence of views at every stage of the talks, the diplomat said, adding that the principle of transparency should be observed.
He said a country which is going to take over the EU Presidency should put together teams to work in Brussels, where they should look for the best experts in particular areas and learn about how to negotiate with the European Parliament. There are strict deadlines for drafting EU legislation because the MEPs need time to familiarize themselves with what they are going to vote on. Force-majeure questions and problems are also possible, and the EU Presidency holder should be able to sort things out at any given moment, Leglise-Costa said.