Decision-making in the Council of the European Union is a three-phase process. In the first phase experts in the Council Working Groups (CWGs) provide the necessary expertise and in the third phase the EU Ministers take their decision in the Council.
In between there is the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper), which endeavours to achieve agreement on pending dossiers at this level or to submit options and possible solutions to the political representatives in the Council.
Coreper, therefore, can be considered a kind of catalyst for the Council. Moreover, it is the preferred body for negotiations with the European Parliament. Coreper consists of representatives from the Member States with the rank of ambassadors and works in two configurations: Coreper I (issues: single market, industry, digitalisation, etc.) and Coreper II (issues: general affairs, external relations, external trade policy, economic and financial affairs as well as justice and home affairs). Safeguarding Austria's economic interests within the context of Coreper and thus within the framework of the European legislative process is of key importance to the Austrian economy.
The EU Coordination unit ensures the optimal the preparation of Austrias position in the Committee of Permanent Representatives.
This requires efficient cooperation from the Divison: EU Coordination with related organisational units in the BMDW, other ministries and the social partners.
In addition to its work for the COREPER, the Division liaises with the following bodies:
- The European Council and the intergovernmental conferences;
- The European Parliament;
- The Presidency of the European Council
- The Council of Europe
- Matters concerning development cooperation, sustainability policy and EU-environmental policy
In the field of environmental and sustainability policies the Interface Environment of the Ministry's Economic Portfolio serves as a centre for coordination, documentation and monitoring. Whenever an Austrian position paper is prepared in these policy areas, the Interface coordinates, presents and guards the interests of the BMDW. With respect to processed agricultural products (Non Annex I products), such as confectionery, soft drinks or pastry products, it communicates Austrias concerns about the export regime to relevant EU bodies.