In the second half of 2021, Slovenia will hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU for the second time. We have already started the preparations for this very demanding project, as we have to ensure in a timely manner that all security, technical and logistics requirements for the organisation of meetings in Slovenia are fulfilled, along with designing activities for the promotion of Slovenia.
What is the presidency of the Council of the EU?
EU Member States hold the presidency of the Council of the EU (one of the main EU institutions, in addition to the European Commission and the European Parliament) according to a rotation system determined in advance. The presidency of each Member State lasts six months. Slovenia held the presidency for the first time in the first half of 2008; its next turn will be in the second half of 2021.
The key content-related task of the presidency country is to manage the work of the Council, particularly directing the legislative work of the EU and formulating the joint positions of the Council for talks with the European Parliament as the co-legislator and with the European Commission. The presidency must ensure compliance with legislative procedures and impartially direct harmonisation among Member States. It is expected to act as an honest and neutral broker that does not emphasise its own national interests but strives for common solutions.
The content and scope of the legislation considered during a presidency depend on the initiatives of the European Commission and political priority areas of Member States, the Council and other institutions. There are 500 to 700 legislative proposals considered during each 6-month period. Statistically, one-third of all legislative proposals on which negotiations are held are adopted under the presidency of one Member State, as the regular legislative procedure takes on average one to two years.
The number and content of issues on the agenda during the Slovenian Presidency will depend mostly on the new EU strategic agenda for the next five years adopted by EU leaders at the meeting of the Council in June 2019, the work programme of the new European Commission and the 18-month programme of the Trio, i.e. Slovenia, Germany and Portugal, which is currently under preparation.
How is Slovenia preparing for the Presidency of the Council of the EU?
The presidency of the Council of the EU is a great challenge. Representatives of the presidency country take over the chairing of the meetings of various working bodies and other meetings organised during the presidency. They are expected to make targeted, substantive and constructive contributions to discussions. Knowledge of the European Union, its values, law and procedures, the particulars of topical dossiers, and priorities is crucial to a successful presidency. As the topics are complex, solid preparations are essential. By the start of the Presidency we must employ and train staff that will participate in the project, ensure the fulfilment of all security, technical and logistics requirements for the organisation of meetings in Slovenia, and design activities for the promotion of Slovenia. In drafting the preparations plan we decided to employ, for a fixed term, an additional 350 people to work on the Presidency project and to not spend more than 80 million euros for the implementation of the project.