Digital Agenda - what lies ahead of the Bulgarian Presidency?

On January 1st, Bulgaria took over the six-months rotating presidency of the Council of the EU. What will be on the Presidency’s agenda when it comes to digital policy?

Outcomes of the Estonian presidency

Ahead of Bulgaria, Estonia assumed this role from July to December 2017. As Estonia emerged as the European leading nation in digital innovation, expectations were high when it held the rotating presidency.

The “digital” presidency pushed the digital files forward. It managed to reach political agreement with the European Parliament on the geo-blocking regulation. Estonia has also facilitated the convergence of the Member States on important files such as the EU Electronic communications code or the regulation on the free flow of non-personal data. Progress was more difficult on copyright reform, the revised audiovisual rules framework. On the e-Privacy Regulation, the Estonian Presidency has undertaken a difficult but necessary overhaul of the text.

Digital agenda for the Bulgarian Presidency: priority & challenges

2018 is crucial for the EU institutions. It will be the last full year to finalise or achieve substantial progress on key files before the end of the European Commission’s mandate and the European elections scheduled for May 2019.

As for previous Presidencies, digital policy remains of major importance for the Bulgarian presidency which considers that “the Digital Single Market, the access to innovation, the link between education, and the requirements of the future labour market as the basis of European competitiveness and technological development”. The Presidency will have the challenging task of finding a consensus amongst Member States and with the Parliament, in particular, on the overhaul of the EU telecoms rules (the Code), the e-Privacy Regulation, or the Cybersecurity and Free Flow of Data files. New initiatives may also be launched by the Commission during this semester: on platform to business relationships, cross border access to e evidence or taxation of the digital economy for instance.

In addition, a wider range of issues will require to be examined in depth by the Presidency such as the Brexit negotiations, the shaping of the defence cooperation mechanism, the migration issues, etc. Bulgaria has also made the deepening of regional cooperation with the western Balkan countries one of its priorities.

Orange shares Bulgaria’s conviction that the DSM is essential to enhance Europe’s competitiveness, further meet consumers’ needs and create opportunities for companies.

From 1st of July, Austria and from January 2019 Romania, will take over the rotating presidency and will strive to secure the adoption of all the legislative proposals before the next European elections and the nomination of the next Commission.