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About the presidency

Presidency Trio

The presidency of the Council of the European Union is held by groups of three member states working together on the basis of a common programme. The presidency trio helps ensure continuity in the EU’s legislation and contributes to its greater efficiency.

The Council presidency is exercised by a pre-established group of three member states, or the so-called presidency trio, over a period of 18 months. This arrangement was adopted in a European Council Decision of 1 December 2009 after the Lisbon Treaty came into effect. The trios are organised so as to consider the geographical balance of the member states and their diversity in terms of size and the length of their Union membership.

The trio’s main contribution lies in a smoother transition between presidencies, greater continuity of the Council’s work and a more effective promotion of priorities over the long term. The trio also provides an opportunity to develop close cooperation between the countries and, through shared cultural and promotional presidency projects, to learn more about one another.

Teamed Up with the Netherlands and Malta

The order of rotation of the Council presidencies has been determined up to the first half of 2020. By then, all EU member states except Croatia – the newest member – will have assumed the presidency at least once. Each trio includes at least one of the newest member states that joined the Union after 2000.

The Slovak Presidency begins on 1 July 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016. Slovakia is part of a presidency trio along with the Netherlands (which holds the presidency between 1 January and 30 June 2016) and Malta (in the chair between 1 January and 30 June 2017).

Whereas the Netherlands has held the presidency 12 times (including the tenure in 2016), both Slovakia and Malta will assume the presidency for the first time ever.

Common Programme, Separate Presidency

Each presidency trio sets long-term objectives and draws up a common political programme. The programme reflects the topics and major issues that the Council of the EU will address over an 18-month period. On the basis of this programme, each of the three countries prepares its own more detailed 6-month programme.

Based on the common programme, the other members of the presidency trio assist the country holding the presidency in the fulfilment of all the tasks entrusted to it.

The common programme of the trio that is made up of the Netherlands, Slovakia and Malta focuses on the following areas:

  1. Jobs, growth, competitiveness

  2. A Union that protects all citizens

  3. An Energy Union with a forward-looking climate policy

  4. Freedom, security and justice

  5. The Union as a strong global actor

Latest news

3 November 2016
Joint debate on research and innovation in the Danube region
This morning, within the framework of the 5th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (Danube Strategy), ministers and their representatives responsible for research and innovation, together with the European Commission, met to discuss how to coordinate investment activities in the field of research and how to prevent the brain drain from the region.
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28 October 2016
EU-Canada trade agreement: Council adopts decision to sign CETA
Brussels (28 October) - On 28 October, the Council adopted by written procedure a package of decisions on the comprehensive economic and trade agreement with Canada (CETA), including:
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27 October 2016
'Bratislava Agenda' – a new impetus for European industry
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26 October 2016
EU 2017 budget: Council cannot accept EP amendments
Brussels (26 October) - On 26 October 2016, the Council informed the European Parliament that it cannot accept all its amendments for the 2017 EU budget, adopted the same day.
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23 August 2016
Joint Statement: Ministerial Conference on the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Totalitarian Regimes
(Bratislava, 23 August 2016)
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12 July 2016
Speech by Foreign Minister M. Lajčák at the EP Committee AFET
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12 July 2016
Speech by Finance Minister P. Kažimír at the conference "Feasibility and Added Value of a European Unemployment Benefits Scheme"
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6 July 2016
Speech by Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico in the European Parliament
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7 October 2016
2 climate weeks: „small step for humanity, giant leap for Slovak Presidency“
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19 October 2016
Notice: Prime Minister Robert Fico to attend a summit of EU leaders in Brussels
The Slovak Prime Minister, Robert Fico, together with the Slovak Minister for Labour, Social Affairs and the Family, Ján Richter, will attend the Tripartite Social Summit and a regular session of the European Council in Brussels on 19-21 October 2016. On this occasion, Mr Fico will meet the prime ministers of the Visegrad Four countries, the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, and the leaders of fellow EU member states.
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17 October 2016
Notice: Slovak PM Robert Fico and Social Minister Ján Richter to participate in a Tripartite Social Summit in Brussels
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16 October 2016
Notice: EU trade ministers meet to discuss CETA between the EU and Canada
On Tuesday 18 October, Slovak Minister of Economy Peter Žiga will chair the trade segment of the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC Trade) in Luxembourg. The extraordinary meeting was called by the Presidency to discuss the comprehensive economic and trade agreement with Canada (CETA).
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16 October 2016
Notice: First ever Eastern Partnership meeting on climate and environment
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23 June 2016
Presidency glossary
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23 June 2016
Slovak Presidency Website eu2016.sk
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22 June 2016
Accreditation and registration
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5 May 2016
Presidency in Figures
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19 July 2016
Council conclusions on Venezuela
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19 July 2016
Council conclusions on EU strategy on China
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19 July 2016
Council conclusions on Turkey
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19 July 2016
EU priorities at the United Nations and the 71st UNGA
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