Structures for Negotiations
The Council of Ministers defines and implements the Bulgarian policy towards the EU, the preparation for membership and the conduct of accession negotiations. It heads the coordination mechanism, which includes the following bodies:

The Council for European Integration is chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister who coordinates the activities related to Bulgaria’s accession to the EU and comprises the ministers of the key line ministries participating in the process of preparation for accession. The Council examines the draft positions and the mandate for negotiations; nominates the members of the core negotiating team; makes proposals for priority measures to be taken by the Government in the field of European integration.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs directs and coordinates the overall activity for Bulgaria’s accession and the conduct of the dialogue with EU institutions. The Minister leads the delegation for negotiations and presents the final position of Bulgaria before the Council of the European Union. Coordinates the programming priorities with the national point in charge of the assistance granted by the EU, in accordance with the priorities of the preparation for accession, and participates in the monitoring over that assistance.

The Chief Negotiator presents the positions of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Inter-Governmental Conference on negotiations with the European Union at the level of deputy heads of delegation; presides over the core team and the coordination council; advises the Council of Ministers and the National Assembly’s Standing Committees of the pace and the result of negotiations; coordinates the activities of the administration in its interaction with the European institutions; exercises the national coordination of the screening of the legislation; The Head of the Bulgarian Mission to the European Communities is a Deputy Chief Negotiator.

The Minister of Finance is the national coordinator for the assistance granted to Bulgaria by the European Communities; coordinates the mechanism for joint monitoring of the programmes, funded by the pre-accession instruments; organizes and coordinates the National Economic Development Plan 2000-2006 and the National Development Plan in accordance with the requirements of Council Regulation 1260/1999.

The Chief Negotiator, Mrs. Meglena Kuneva received the status of a Minister for European Affairs to ensure integrated and synchronized policy on all matters pertaining to this country’s relations with the European Union. She is responsible for the coordination of the actual implementation of the agreements reached with the EU, monitors and coordinates the activities of all European integration directorates in the line ministries and agencies; prepares the Draft National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis.

The Core Negotiations Team comprises the Chief negotiator, the Head of the Mission to the EC in Brussels, the Director of the Directorate for European Integration and Relations with the International Financial Institutions and/or top experts from all ministries involved. It assists the Council for European integration by: by analyzing the information on the implementation of the commitments made in the course of the negotiations and by proposing to the Coordination Council and to the working groups the adoption of priority action in this direction; assessing the overall status of the assistance granted to Bulgaria by the EU; making recommendations to the institutions involved in the planning Bulgarian participation in the EU ’s pre-accession programmes; discussing the draft negotiating positions and the mandate for the conduct of negotiations submitted by the head of the working group.

A Coordination Council is attached to the Association council, chaired by the Chief negotiator and having as its members the heads of the Working groups. It monitors the preparation of the negotiations process; issues general guidelines about the activities of the working groups; prepares and analyses the results of the dialogue Bulgaria - EU; considers matters of inter-sectoral nature pertaining to the European integration with the object of harmonizing of efforts and optimizing the dialogue with the European Union.

31 Working Groups are established at the Coordination council. This is the extended team for negotiations. The WG carry out the overall preparation of the negotiations by drafting the negotiating positions along sectors, which are subsequently presented for consideration to the Coordination Council; discuss draft legislative instruments on the basis of acquis communautaire and prepare tables of tables of conformity. Representatives of the economic and social partners may be included in the working groups.

Directorate for European Integration and Relations with the International Financial Institutions of the Council of Ministers prepares and updates the national harmonogramme for approximation of Bulgarian legislation with Community law and presents it to the EU institutions; it is responsible for the monitoring and prepares information papers for the Council for European Communication concerning the implementation of the commitments undertaken by Bulgaria during the negotiations, as well as the implementation of the national programme for the adoption of the acquis.

Translation and Revision Centre operates with the Minister of Public Administration, which provides the public administration with translations of the acts of the European Union, as well translations of Bulgarian legislation into the official languages of the Union.

The Council for European Communication is responsible for the planning under the Communication strategy for Bulgaria’s preparation for membership and watches for its implementation. It is chaired by the Minister of foreign affairs, and its members are the deputy-ministers, responsible for European integration, the core negotiations team, the presidents of economic and social cohesion committees and the chair of the executive board of the Bulgarian National Association of Municipalities.  Experts and representatives of NGOs, the social and economic partners and the academic circles may take part in the meetings of the Council. A Consultative Committee is attached to the Council, whose task is to assist its activities in formulating and preparing decisions implementing the Strategy.

©SG 2003