Bulgaria, the EU's poorest member state and seen as its most corrupt, takes up the rotating presidency of the EU Council from January 1.
Among its priorities are the "EU candidate countries":http://ec.europa.eu/environment/enlarg/candidates.htm in the Western Balkans.
"The pre-accession period is very important for these countries," Daniel Smilov from the Center for Liberal Strategies told Euronews.
"In fact, Bulgaria experienced its fastest development and most important reforms during this period. So if we give the Western Balkans a clear perspective, we can expect a good development. On the other hand, the government will be able to divert attention from topics that are not very pleasing to it, such as the fight against corruption."
An "EU-Western Balkans summit":http://www.balkaneu.com/bulgaria-to-host-western-balkans-summit-in-sofia-in-may-2018-during-eu-presidency/ is scheduled for May 2018.