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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

9 December 2016
Safer borders and Eurodac among great results under Slovak Presidency
Brussels (9 December) – The reform of the Common European Asylum System, migration as well as fight against terrorism and organised crime were among key topics discussed by the last Home Affairs Council under the Slovak presidency. The meeting was chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák.
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9 December 2016
Common European Asylum System reform: Council ready to start negotiations on Eurodac
Brussels (9 December) - The Council endorsed a mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament on the recast of the Eurodac regulation. On the basis of this mandate, the presidency will start negotiations with the European Parliament as soon as the latter has adopted its position.
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9 December 2016
Intergovernmental agreements in the field of energy: Council strengthens EU energy security
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9 December 2016
Shareholders' rights in EU companies: Presidency strikes deal with Parliament
On 9 December 2016, the EU's committee of permanent representatives (COREPER) endorsed an agreement between the Slovak presidency and European Parliament representatives to strengthen shareholders engagement in big European companies.
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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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9 December 2016
Notice: Minister M. Lajčák to attend the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels
The Slovak Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Miroslav Lajčák is to attend a regular Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) meeting in Brussels on Monday 12 November. The Council is chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.
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9 December 2016
Notice: AGRIFISH Council on unfair practices, organics and fishing opportunities
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7 December 2016
Notice: Migration, asylum and border modernisation on interior ministers' agenda chaired by R. Kaliňák
On Friday 9 December, Deputy Prime Minister and Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák will chair the Home Affairs Council (JHA) in Brussels.
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7 December 2016
Notice: Fight against fraud high on agenda of JHA chaired by Minister Žitňanská
On Thursday 8 December, Slovak Minister for Justice Lucia Žitňanská will chair the Justice Council (JHA) in Brussels.
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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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