What is the EU Presidency
The Presidency of the Council of the EU rotates between each of the 28 Member States every six months. The first Presidency dates back to 1958 when Belgium assumed the role and since then the hosting nation has handed over to the next Member State on January 1st and July 1st every year.
During its six month term the hosting Member State is Chair of the Council of the European Union meetings. The Council is made up of government ministers from Member States and who attends which meetings depends on what the topic is. For example, agriculture ministers will sit if farming is being discussed and environment ministers will attend if the topic is global warming.
The Presidency organises these meetings and has the responsibility of moving Council work forward as much as possible by helping Member States reach agreement and by formulating compromise proposals that support the interests of the EU as a whole when differences in opinion emerge. The Member State hosting the Presidency has a duty to act as an ‘honest broker’ as well as a responsibility to be impartial on all matters.
During its six month term the Presidency also represents the Council on the world stage at international conferences and in its dealings with other EU institutions, including the European Commission and the European Parliament.