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About the presidency

What is the Presidency

The Council of the European Union is one of the EU’s three main institutions. It shapes the Union’s legislation, coordinates its policies and seeks agreement between the individual institutions on important political issues.

Holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union is one of the most important and demanding tasks arising from EU membership. Each Member State holds the Presidency for six months on a rotating basis. During that period, the country holding the Presidency chairs meetings at all levels within the Council and is thus responsible for shaping European legislation from expert to ministerial level.

Along with the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union is the Union’s main decision-making body. Representing all 28 Member States, it adopts legislation and coordinates the Union’s policies.

The Council meets in ten different configurations, depending on the subject under consideration. The country holding the Presidency prepares and chairs all meetings of the Council except the Foreign Affairs Council configuration, which is chaired by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (currently Federica Mogherini).

“Our Presidency of the Council of the EU concerns the whole of society and is an opportunity to present the whole country. We care about maximising the awareness of this topic among the general and professional public.”

Miroslav Lajčák, the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic

At the helm of the Presidency

What makes the Presidency demanding is primarily the preparation and chairing of meetings of the Council and its preparatory bodies. This comprises the meetings of permanent committees (such as the Committee of Permanent Representatives, or Coreper) and those of around 200 working parties and committees that focus on specific areas. The Presidency guides the progress of these meetings. In doing so, and working together with the other Member States, it drives forward the legislative process and ensures overall continuity in the EU agenda.

The Presidency organises formal and informal meetings not only in Brussels and Luxembourg, but also in the country of the Presidency.

An Opportunity for Slovakia

It is not enough for the country holding the Presidency to be merely the ‘manager’ of the Council and the Council's voice for its six months in office. It must also act as an honest and neutral broker, working towards consensus between all Member States and the other institutions of the Union.

The Presidency works closely mainly with the European Commission and the European Parliament, as well as with the President of the European Council (currently Donald Tusk) and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.  

Slovakia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU represents an important challenge for the entire country. It is a unique opportunity for us to increase the visibility of our diplomacy, expertise and managerial skills, as well as of Slovakia itself.

PHOTO: http://www.consilium.europa.eu

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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