Bulgaria, Estonia Come Together to Prepare for EU Presidency in 2018
Bulgaria and Estonia, two of the EU newcomers that joined the Union in 2007 and 2004 respectively, have agreed to prepare together for their chairing of the rotating EU Presidency in 2018.
"The EU Presidency is a challenge for new member states such as Bulgaria and Estonia and together we must do our utmost to prepare the state administration for it," Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov said at a meeting in Estonia's capital Tallinn with his Estonian counterpart Urmas Paet on Friday, as cited by the press service of the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry.
Bulgaria and Estonia are scheduled to hold successively the rotating presidency of the EU in 2018.
At Mladenov's initiative, a coordination mechanism between the Foreign Ministries of Bulgaria and Estonia will be set up and there will be joint working groups with representatives of the entire state administration to co-ordinate the agenda at all meetings of the EU Councils.
The foreign ministers also discussed the ongoing negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework (2014-2020) and the efforts of the "Friends of Cohesion" group, which includes Bulgaria and Estonia.
Mladenov and Paet discussed the Western Balkans and shared the view that the process of EU enlargement is important for the continuation of reforms in the region.
They expressed concern over the continuing violence in Syria and condemned the Syrian attack on Turkish territory, in which five civilians died.
The Estonian Foreign Minister praised Bulgaria's expertise in the Middle East and North Africa, the Foreign Ministry press service reported.
On the bilateral level, the two ministers identified opportunities for cooperation in the field of information technology.
Minister Paet expressed Estonia's readiness to share its experience as a leading country in the field of e-government.
Estonia's Foreign Minister has invited Bulgaria to become an official member of the NATO Cyber Defense Center, which is based in Tallinn.
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