January 02, 2018
Bulgaria took over the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union(EU) on Monday. It's the first time Sofia held the post since it joined the EU in 2007.
Sofia chose "United We Stand Strong",the motto of National Assembly and of the Coat of Arms of the Republic of Bulgaria, as the slogan for the presidency.
According to the website of the Bulgarian presidency, Sofia prioritizes four key areas in its six-month term: future of Europe and young people, Western Balkans, security and stability and digital economy.
Bulgaria ranks 21st in the 28-state EU in terms of Gross Domestic Product(GDP). It is outside the 19-member Eurozone with its national currency lev pegging to the euro (1 euro equals 1.9558 Bulgarian lev).
The country, bordering Turkey, was once a transit-stop for tens of thousands of illegal migrants who fled for Europe at the peak of the refugee crisis in 2015.
Unlike the European Council which is made up of heads of states, the Council of the EU consists of one ministerial-level representative from each member state for a given policy area.
The Council meets in different configurations depending on the issues under discussion.
The rotating presidency chairs all the configuration other than foreign affairs council, which is chaired by Federica Mogherini, the EU's foreign policy chief.
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