The Presidency of the Council of the European Union rotates among the member states of the EU every six months (January-June, July-December). The country holding the Presidency of the Council is responsible for setting the agenda of the Council, chairing the Council Working Groups and all meetings that are not chaired by either the High Representative or the Presidency of the European Council.
The presidency is expected to accelerate legislative and political decisions and promote common solutions between all Members. The presidency is currently (as of January 2018) held by Bulgaria.
The Austrian Presidency of the Council - July-December 2018
Austria will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union on 1 July 2018. It will be the third time for Austria holding the Presidency (after 1998 and 2006). The preparations for the presidency are ongoing.
Austria is part of a Trio-Presidency that is made up of Estonia (July-December 2017), Bulgaria (January-July 2018) and Austria (July-December 2018). The 18-month-program of the Trio-Presidency - the so called Trio Program - has been approved at the General Affairs Council on the 20th June 2017 and has come into effect on 1st July 2017.
The Trio Program, which is based on the Strategic Agenda for the Union in times of change from 2014, forms the strategic framework for the work of the three presidencies.
Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria will seek to ensure a safe and collaborative way forward for the EU. Communication with citizens must be improved and important societal topics such as employment, growth and security should be prioritised.
The Program is divide into the following five thematic areas:
- A Union for Jobs, Growth and Competitiveness
- А Union that Empowers and Protects All its Citizens
- Towards an Energy Union with a forward-looking Climate Policy
- A Union of Freedom, Security and Justice
- The Union as a Strong Global Actor
Work on the EU-Level is furthermore guided by the Annual Programm of the European Commission as well as the respective Presidency Programs.
Priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council (January-June 2018)
The Bulgarian Presidency has chosen 'United we stand strong' as its official slogan. The country will aim to foster cooperative relations between Member States and focus on the real needs of Europe's citizens.
The Bulgarian Presidency has chosen the following four priorities for the next six month:
- Future of Europe and young people
- Security and Stability
- Western Balkans
- Digital Economy