The Slovak Presidency in the Council of the European Union

The Council of the European Union is one of the EU’s three main institutions. It shapes the Union’s legislation, coordinates its policies and seeks agreement between the individual institutions on important political issues.

Holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union is one of the most important and demanding tasks arising from EU membership. Each Member State holds the Presidency for six months on a rotating basis. During that period, the country holding the Presidency chairs meetings at all levels within the Council and is thus responsible for shaping European legislation from expert to ministerial level.

The Council meets in ten different configurations, depending on the subject under consideration. The country holding the Presidency prepares and chairs all meetings of the Council except the Foreign Affairs Council configuration, which is chaired by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

What makes the Presidency demanding is primarily the preparation and chairing of meetings of the Council and its preparatory bodies. This comprises the meetings of permanent committees (such as the Committee of Permanent Representatives, or Coreper) and those of around 200 working parties and committees that focus on specific areas. The Presidency guides the progress of these meetings. In doing so, and working together with the other Member States, it drives forward the legislative process and ensures overall continuity in the EU agenda. The Presidency organises formal and informal meetings not only in Brussels and Luxembourg, but also in the country of the Presidency.

It is not enough for the country holding the Presidency to be merely the ‘manager’ of the Council and the Council's voice for its six months in office. It must also act as an honest and neutral broker, working towards consensus between all Member States and the other institutions of the Union. The Presidency works closely mainly with the European Commission and the European Parliament, as well as with the President of the European Council (currently Donald Tusk) and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Slovakia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU represents an important challenge for the entire country. It is a unique opportunity for us to increase the visibility of our diplomacy, expertise and managerial skills, as well as of Slovakia itself.

Our priorities are based on the strategic agenda of the European Council for five years, adopted in June 2014, and also they refer to common priority issues and areas of the 18-month program of the Trio Presidency of the Council (Netherlands - Slovakia - Malta), while the main priority remains inclusive, smart and sustainable growth, job creation and competitiveness.

Umbrella topic / SK PRES priority in the scope of the MoLSAF in the field of employment and social policy is "Securing Jobs and Prosperity for the Present and for the Future". This way SK PRES responds to the consequences of the crisis the European Union is facing in recent years and has negative impact on employment. Moderate economic recovery of recent months is forcing us to start fully exploiting the potential of the single market and this way to contribute to addressing the employment issues.

Taking into account these facts within the umbrella priorities, the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family will focus within SK Presidency on the following areas:

  • Support and development of decent work
  • Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion
  • New measures to promote employment
  • Promoting equal treatment and equal opportunities





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