24. 8. 2009
What does the Czech Republic's presidency of the Council of the EU entail?
The Council of the EU is an intergovernmental institution of the European Union which protects interests of the individual member states. Presidency rotation is predefined in the time schedule which is set up to 2020. Two member states preside every year – the first one from January to June, the second one from July to December. Thus they have unique opportunity to enhance their prestige in the framework of the EU and to make the issues of the European integration more visible in their countries.
The presiding country calls and chairs all sessions of the Council of the EU and its working committees, acts as a negotiator of compromises between member states, and it also negotiate with third countries and international institutions on behalf of the EU. It represents the Council of the EU in contacts with other institutions of the EU, in particular with the European Parliament and the European Commission.
The presidency is governed according to its priorities. Priorities are set by the presiding country and are first presented to the Council of the EU and the European Parliament. Priorities partly reflect targets which are of a cardinal importance for the presiding country, topical issues resulting from current situation and for ensuring continuity resulting from the preceding presidency. For this purpose so called trio is created – cooperation of three member states which hold consecutive presidencies. These three member states prepare 18-month programme for the presidency. The Czech Republic makes up a trio together with France and Sweden.
The presidency is one of the most important and most demanding tasks resulting from EU membership.
The order in which the individual states rotate in their presidential role was approved by the General Affairs and External Relations Council on 13 December 2004. The decision sets the order of presidency up to 2020; rotation of countries according to their size and geographic position were taken into consideration. The Czech Republic took over the presidency on 1 January 2009. It took over this role from France and handed it over to Sweden as of 1 July 2009. Therefore there was an intensive communication with representatives of France and Sweden during the preparation of the Czech presidency. The Czech Republic was not the first of the new member countries which presided over the EU Council – it was Slovenia which took over this position as early as in the first half of 2008.
The Czech Republic's preparation for the presidency
Carrying out the presidency placed extraordinary demands on the entire state administration of the presiding country. For this reason the Czech Republic had to prepare thoroughly for that task, and not only from the point of view of appropriate selection of its priorities, but also in terms of organization and logistics. As a rule, the preparation for the presidency itself is started about two years prior to the presidency, both on the national and EU level in the form of cooperation and exchange of information experiences with the previous presiding countries and with the Secretariat of the EU Council. Preparation can be divided into three basic categories: technical preparation, financial provision and selection of priorities.
Order of presidencies (2009 – 2020)
2009 Czech Republic, Sweden
2010 Spain, Belgium
2011 Hungary, Poland
2012 Denmark, Cyprus
2013 Ireland, Lithuania
2014 Greece, Italy
2015 Latvia, Luxembourg
2016 Nederland, Slovakia,
2017 Malta, Great Britain
2018 Estonia, Bulgaria
2019 Austria, Romania