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Two important events took place in our capital on the occasion of the start of the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU (1 July - 31 December 2019).

A discussion

Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU and the role of Bulgaria

took place on July 2, 2019. The event was organized by PanEuropa BG, the Embassy of the Republic of Finland in Sofia, the European Commission Representation in Bulgaria, the @ECinBulgaria, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung foundation and the Bulgarian Diplomatic Institute.

After the opening words of Ms. Gergana Passy, President of the PanEuropa BG followed the main speeches.

H. E. Ms. Päivi Blinnikka, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Finland to the Republic of Bulgaria introduced the main priorities and key principles of the Presidency.

Its motto is "Sustainable Europe - Sustainable Future".  The presidency programme focuses on four main priorities: strengthening of the common values and the rule of law; making the EU more competitive and socially inclusive; strengthening the EU's position as a global leader in climate action; comprehensively protecting the security of citizens. Finland will be the first presidency to integrate the new priorities of the Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 into the Council's work.

The Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ms. Ekaterina Zaharieva shared our country's stance on the key themes of the European agenda.

Mr. Thorsten Geissler, Head of Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung highlighted the role of Finland in Human Rights and reminisced about his experiences in Finnish sauna diplomacy. 

On 4 July 2019 at the BCCI an EU Club Meeting took place on which the Romanian Ambassador to Bulgaria handed over

the symbolical baton of the Presidency of the Council of the EU

to the Finnish Ambassador to Bulgaria.

At the event H. E. Mr. Ion Galea, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Romania to the Republic of Bulgaria presented the results achieved during the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU during the first half of 2019 and expressed hopes that Finland will continue working on the themes. 

Prof. Ingrid Shikova, Chair of the EU Club, pointed out the important decisions that were made during Finland's two previous Presidencies in view to the enlargement of the EU and extended wishes for a third successful Finnish Presidency.

Further to the priorities and the programme of Finland's Presidency of the Council of the EU, Ambassador Blinnikka presented to the audience the arrangements Finland has planned for a sustainable Presidency.

The event ended up with an exhibition by young Bulgarian artist Daniela Stoykova.

The photos were provided by the Embassy of the Republic of Finland in the Republic of Bulgaria.

Above: H. E. Mr. Ion Galea, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Romania to the Republic of Bulgaria, hands over the symbolical baton of the Presidency of the Council of the EU to H. E. Ms. Päivi Blinnikka, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Finland to the Republic of Bulgaria.

Below: The Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ms. Ekaterina Zaharieva and H. E. Ms. Päivi Blinnikka during the discussion "Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU and the role of Bulgaria" /photos 1 and 2/; H. E. Ms. Päivi Blinnikka, Mr. Tsvetan Simeonov, President of BCCI, H. E. Mr. Ion Galea and Prof. Ingrid Shikova, Chair of the EU Club, during the event at BCCI /photo 3/; the opening of the exhibition of the Bulgarian artist Daniela Stoykova /photo 4/.