About the presidency
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:
Jobs, growth, competitiveness
A Union that protects all citizens
An Energy Union with a forward-looking climate policy
Freedom, security and justice
The Union as a strong global actor