10 Jul/18

Interpreters’ Strike Delays Bulgaria’s Report on Its EU Council Presidency

Bulgaria EU Council Presidency
Interpreters’ Strike Delays Bulgaria’s Report on Its EU Council Presidency

As Bulgaria’s Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, was preparing his final speech as the outgoing head of the European Council, some Members of the European Parliament shut down the interpreters’ microphone system before blocking technical staff from coming to restore the working order.

That act of protest was not designed to show disapproval of the first Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, but to show solidarity with the European Parliament interpreters’ protest against what they describe as a ‘unilateral’ decision for new working conditions and an increase in the time spent in the interpreting booth, imposed by the EP in August 2017.

The strike of the EU interpreters, who give live translations of all parliamentary proceedings in the EU’s 24 official languages and 552 possible translation combinations, resulted in the first-time ever delay of a plenary session, highlighting the EU’s over-reliance on the need for professional language services.

Eventually, Boyko Borisov delivered his speech on the outcome of his country’s Council Presidency, to later comment that the end of Bulgaria’s Presidency marked the start of problems.

And the work done under the first Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, facilitated by a strong dialogue with all EU institutions, achieved a significant progress on its main priorities: European perspective and connectivity of the Western Balkans, the future of Europe and young people, security and stability in a strong and unified Europe and the digital economy.

The Western Balkans Summit, held on May 17, in Sofia, confirmed that the integration of the Western Balkans into the EU is of mutual interest and promoted links between EU and the Western Balkans in infrastructure, energy, trade, digital and human connectivity, along with agreements to tackle together common challenges, such as security, migration, geopolitical developments and good neighbourly relations. With the latter, manifested at the sidelines of the Summit when the Prime Ministers of Greece and Macedonia announced that had finally reached an agreement on the Macedonia’s (now Republic of North Macedonia) naming dispute.

Bulgaria, has further invested a lot of efforts in aiming at reaching a comprehensive reform of the Dublin Agreement on the asylum system and common decisions on more security on the EU’s external borders, and more efficient migration management, stemming from its own in-country policy of measures to successfully tackle the migration crisis.

Further success was reported on the improvement of the Schengen Information System and Visa and Border Code.

During Bulgaria’s Presidency, numerous legislative acts were adopted and entered into force, relating to digital economy, the single market, research and education.

Progress was also achieved on important topics that the EU will continue to work on, such as Brexit and a better economic and social cohesion with a focus on the next Multiannual Financial Framework, where at their last meeting under the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council, EU finance ministers finalised the work on three dossiers in the area of Value Added Tax (VAT), thus moving towards a more efficient VAT system at EU level.

Bulgaria hands over the Presidency of the EU Council as a country with a 20% VAT rate, on top of economic figures of 4% annual economic growth, a low external debt of below 30%, and a virtually zero budget deficit, along with a low uneployment rate of less than 6% and an inflation rate of below 2.6%. The monthly Foreign Direct Investment accounted to EUR 4.5 million for April 2018, with the capital flows – to EUR 400 million for the same month.

Doing business in Bulgaria is an attractive prospect, but as ranked 50 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings, there are many linguistic and regulatory hurdles to navigate.

And EVS Translations is here to help, as a global translation and business services company with more than 25 years of experience in producing certified language services in line with international standards, government regulations and corporate guidelines.

From our position as the market leading LSP with the largest in-house pool of translators in Bulgaria, EVS Translations has witnessed the economic growth of the country during the last decades, along with its political stability and efforts to not fail on any important issue during its EU Council Presidency. We show strong solidarity with the protest of our EU colleagues, and ensure best working conditions for our in-house linguists and no delays for your language projects.