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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

20 December 2016
European Union Agency for Asylum: Council ready to start negotiations with Parliament
Brussels (20 December) - The Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) endorsed, on behalf of the Council a mandate for negotiations on the regulation on the European Union Agency for Asylum. On the basis of this mandate, the presidency will start negotiations with the European Parliament.
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20 December 2016
Capital markets union: Council confirms deal on prospectus rules
Brussels (20 December) - The Permanent Representatives Committee approved, on behalf of the Council, an agreement with the European Parliament on prospectuses for the issuing and offering of securities.
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20 December 2016
Money laundering and terrorist financing: Council agrees its negotiating stance
Brussels (20 December) - The Council has agreed its negotiating stance on strengthened EU rules to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. The Permanent Representatives Committee, on behalf of the Council, asked the incoming presidency to start talks with the European Parliament.
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20 December 2016
Control of firearms: Council confirms agreement with the European Parliament
Brussels (20 December) - The Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) confirmed, on behalf of the Council, the agreement reached with the European Parliament on the proposal for a directive on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons, which reviews and completes existing directive 91/477/EEC.
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25 November 2016
Violence against women - simply unacceptable!
Violence against women and girls is a grave violation of human rights in the world and one of the least prosecuted crimes in the world.
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9 November 2016
Statement by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic on the adoption of the 2016 Enlargement Package
The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic welcomes the adoption of the European Commission’s 2016 Enlargement Package, which contains assessment reports concerning the individual candidate countries and potential candidates for EU membership. We recognise the fact that this year’s package is centred around an assessment of the implementation of last year’s strategy, while also taking stock of trends in the region in key areas such as the rule of law, fundamental rights, migration, the functioning of public authorities, economy and regional cooperation. The reporting methodology introduced last year was expanded to cover additional areas. This has facilitated a better assessment of the overall progress made over the past year, as well as mutual comparisons between the individual applicants.
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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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7 October 2016
2 climate weeks: „small step for humanity, giant leap for Slovak Presidency“
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16 December 2016
Notice: Last Council under the Slovak Presidency dealing with the revision of the emission trading system
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14 December 2016
Notice: Robert Fico, Prime Minister of Slovakia, at the meeting of the European Council in Brussels
The Slovak Prime Minister, Robert Fico, will attend the regular meeting of the European Council in Brussels on 15 December 2016. On this occasion, Mr Fico will meet with the prime ministers of the Visegrad Four countries, the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, and fellow leaders of the EU member states.
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12 December 2016
Notice: Enlargement package dominating GAC agenda
On Tuesday 13 December, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Miroslav Lajčák will chair the General Affairs Council (GAC) in Brussels.
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12 December 2016
Notice: Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico to visit the European Parliament in Strasbourg
On Tuesday 13 December 2016 the Slovak Prime Minister, Robert Fico, will travel to Strasbourg to visit the European Parliament, to mark the end of the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU.
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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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