About the presidency
What is the Presidency
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.