About the EU presidency
The Presidency of the Council rotates among the EU member states every 6 months. During this 6-month period, the presidency chairs meetings at every level in the council, helping to ensure the continuity of the eu's work in the council. Member states holding the presidency work together closely in groups of three, called 'trios'. This system was introduced by the Lisbon treaty in 2009. The trio sets long-term goals and prepares a common agenda determining the topics and major issues that will be addressed by the council over an 18 month period. On the basis of this programme, each of the three countries prepares its own more detailed 6-month programme.
The current trio is made up of the presidencies of the Germany, Portugal and Slovenia with the motto ‘time to deliver: a fair, green and digital recovery’, Portugal takes over this presidency with three major priorities for the EU:
To promote a recovery leveraged by the climate and digital transitions; To implement the European Pillar of Social Rights of the European Union as a distinctive element for ensuring a fair and inclusive climate and digital transition; To strengthen Europe's autonomy whilst remaining open to the world, taking a leading role in climate action and promoting a digital transformation in the service of people.
PORTUGUESE PRESIDENCY 2021
Portugal's presidency of the Council of the EU: 1 January - 30 June 2021
The priorities of Portugal's presidency are driven by its motto: "Time to deliver: a fair, green and digital recovery". The presidency programme focuses on five main areas, which are in line with the goals of the EU’s strategic agenda: strengthen Europe’s resilience; promote confidence in the European social model; promote a sustainable recovery; speed up a fair and inclusive digital transition; reaffirm the EU’s role in the world, ensuring that this is based on openness and multilateralism. The Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU is focusing on bringing the EU through the COVID-19 pandemic. It promotes a vision of the EU that is innovative, looks to the future and is based on common values of solidarity, convergence and cohesion.
During its mandate, the Portuguese Presidency undertakes to promote social economy as “one of the key instruments” for the implementation of the Action Plan for the European Pillar of Social Rights. The social economy, the umbrella sector for economic activities not aimed solely at profits and, even though they are in the private sector, share goals with the public sector, is an active agent of inclusion in the world of work, inclusion in society and combating inequality. Therefore, National and European commitment to promoting the social economy is a decisive factor in progress.
FORMER EU PRESIDENCIES
The presidency of the Council of the EU is rotatory.
The former presidencies during the past 24 months from July 2019 to December 2020 has been constituted by the State of the Romania-Finland – Croatia – Germany. Their programme places an emphasis on the shared values of the Union and it aims to promote competitiveness, economic growth and investment support, it also supports the strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion.
Going backwards, on a 6-month rotation each, we had:
From 1 January to 30 June 2019, Romania held the six-month rotating Presidency of the European Union. Driven by the motto “cohesion, a common European value understood as unity, equal treatment and convergence” the program of the Presidency was structured into four pillars: Europe of Convergence, Safer Europe, Europe as a stronger global actor, Europe of common values. As part of the Romanian EU Presidency, the European Summit of Regions and Cities on 14 and 15 March 2019 came at a crucial moment in the history of the European Union. The Summit Declaration, adopted on 15 March 2019, is a call to all EU leaders to renew the EU from the ground up. Its ten guiding principles remind them that the European Union needs its regions and cities in order as much as they need the European Union.
The Finnish presidency starting from the July 2019 to December 2019 - Finland’s presidency drove forward an ambitious climate policy and strengthened the rule of law: the government chose ‘Sustainable Europe – Sustainable Future’ as its Presidency slogan. Four priorities were set out for the Presidency: common values and the rule of la w as cornerstones of the EU; a competitive and socially inclusive EU; the EU as a global climate leader; and protecting the security of citizens comprehensively.
Croatia began its presidency from January 2020 and ended it in June 2020. The Croatian presidency was aware to deal with several current problems, among them has been highlighted in the Foreword by the Prime Minister: “Uneven economic development, climate change, increased migration, dissemination of disinformation and growing populism are some of the challenges of today’s world to which citizens are expecting answers, and with good reason. Those answers can be given only by a strong Europe. Here, our unity is our greatest strength.” Accordingly, their motto has been: ‘A Strong Europe in a World of Challenges’ that synthesise their four priorities. Namely: A Europe that develops; A Europe that connects; A Europe that protects; An influential Europe.
Before the current presidency, from July 2020 to December 2020 it has been Germany's turn which started under special circumstance imposed by Covid-19. Indeed, beneath the motto ‘Together for Europe’s recovery’ the German Government was putting “the focus of its Presidency on overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic and seeking answers to the challenges of the future that we need to address now, thus also expressing its goal of making Europe stronger, more equitable and more sustainable”.
UPCOMING EU PRESIDENCIES
In the second half of 2021, Slovenia will hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU for the second time. It will continue the work undertaken by the Portuguese Presidency and will thus close the work of the trio. As the programme claims: “The trio's key tasks will include addressing the impacts of the novel coronavirus pandemic, restoring the normal functioning of European societies and the recovery of economies. Measures are envisaged to foster sustainable and inclusive growth, taking into account the green transition and digital transformation.” Slovenia is already preparing for its turn with a specific priority for the next sixth months.
However, Slovenia will mainly carry out the following tasks of the trio as: “to improve Europe's resilience to crises and to devise contingency plans in cases of emergencies such as pandemics, global cyber attacks and migration pressure. Among the foreign policy priorities is pursuit of an ambitious neighbourhood policy towards the East and the South, reaffirming the EU-perspective of the Western Balkans”.
The beginning of 2022, the work of the new trio will also begin. France will play a pioneering role in shaping the presidency programme. In the six months of its presidency many subjects should be addressed, especially one is under the consideration of everyone: the implementation of the Greed Deal. But also, the Digital Markets Act (DMA), and the Digital Services Act (DSA) are major legislative texts that will arrive by 2022.
The presidency motto “Recovery, power, belonging” well-represents the atmosphere of challenge and innovation that Europe is facing. France is preparing itself by setting up two committees: a monitoring committee and a reflection committee that will bring together the priorities that should be carried forward.