What Is the EU Council Presidency?

The Council of the EU is an intergovernmental institution of the European Union advocating the interests of individual Member States. The Presidency of the Council is one of the most important instruments for promoting the interests of EU Member States and influencing the activities and functioning of the whole of the European Union. Accordingly, Member States hold the Presidency on a rotational basis in keeping with a predetermined schedule broken down into six-month terms. Therefore, two different Member States hold the Presidency over the course of the calendar year – the first from January to June, the second from July to December. This is a unique opportunity for these states to enhance their standing within the European Union and highlight the issues of European integration in their country.

The Presidency calls and chairs all meetings of the Council of the EU and its working committees, negotiates compromises across Member States, and acts on behalf of the European Union in negotiations with non-EU countries and international organisations. It represents the Council of the EU in interactions with other EU institutions, especially the European Parliament and the European Commission.

The Presidency is guided by priorities. These priorities are set by each Presidency and are first presented to the Council of the EU and the European Parliament. Priorities include objectives the Presidency is keen to pursue, as well as current affairs, and – in the interests of continuity – elements from the agendas of preceding Presidencies. For that purpose, a trio is formed, in which three successive Presidencies join forces and cooperate. These three Presidencies work together to create a joint eighteen-month programme. The Czech Republic has formed a trio with France and Sweden.

Presidencies:
Country Presidency Website
Czech Republic first half of 2009 www.eu2009.cz
France second half of 2008 www.eu2008.fr
Slovenia first half of 2008   www.eu2008.si
Portugal  second half of 2007 www.eu2007.pt
Germany   first half of 2007  www.eu2007.de
Finland   second half of 2006  www.eu2006.fi
Austria    first half of 2006   www.eu2006.at
United Kingdom second half of 2005  www.eu2005.gov.uk
Luxembourg   first half of 2005 www.eu2005.lu
The Netherlands second half of 2004 www.eu2004.nl
Ireland    first half of 2004  www.eu2004.ie

Last update: 16.8.2011 16:02

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