About the Presidency

The Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) was established by the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. The country holding the Presidency seeks to further the Council’s work. The Council’s Presidency is held by pre-determined groups of three EU Member States over an 18-month-period, commonly known as the Trio Presidency. These groups are formed from all the Member States, regardless of their size and membership history. The presidency works on a rotational basis every six months. The country holding the Presidency has a unique opportunity to influence the EU’s agenda and its role is to guide the Council’s endeavours through its 6-month programme. It chairs all the different Council meetings except for the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC), which is chaired by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The Presidency also represents the Council of the EU in relations with the other EU institutions. This particularly applies to relations with the Commission and European Parliament in reaching an agreement on legislative files. Discussions are held in trilogues and other types of meetings. The Presidency also coordinates national policies and acts as a broker for the Member States in the Council. In relation to the Council itself, the Presidency is responsible for the organisation of all Presidency related meetings and events taking place in Malta, Brussels and other cities.

Trio Presidency

To guarantee the continuity of the Council’s work, successive presidencies join forces in teams of three (‘trios’) and draft a joint programme with a set of priorities. A common agenda and long-term goals are established. The trio’s job is to address the topics and issues listed in the agenda over 18 months. However, the country holding the presidency would give additional weight to its own detailed national programme, determined by the trio priorities established for their presidency term. The priorities include facing EU-level challenges such as Single Market Completion, Brexit and migration. Malta will be focusing on such tasks for the benefit of all European citizens.  

The current trio is made up of the presidencies of the Netherlands, Slovakia and Malta. For the first time, Malta will take on this role from 1 January 2017 to 30 June 2017.