Estonia will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time from July 2017 to the end of December 2017.
The Presidency of the Council of the European Union changes every six months. Estonia will be taking the baton of the Presidency over from Malta to hand it over to Bulgaria six months later. Three consecutive holders of the Presidency agree which areas to focus on more at the European level. This ensures that important topics remain in the centre of attention for 18 consecutive months. Estonia forms a Presidency trio with Bulgaria and Austria.
In the Council of the European Union, 28 Member States make decisions on policies affecting the welfare and security of more than 500 million EU citizens. The role of the presidency is to seek common ground among the different opinions of Member States, and guide the Member States towards agreements - to be an honest broker acting for the common benefit of the whole. The presidency will also communicate to the media and the international public, the process of reaching common positions as well as the substantive topics and issues discussed. The presidency is responsible for organising the sessions of the Council of the European Union and the duties of working groups – to prepare agendas and chair meetings. The presidency presents and supports agreements between Member States in negotiations with the European Commission and the European Parliament. In the last stage of the negotiations, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament adopt decisions that are binding to all Member States and shape the day-to-day life of 500 million European citizens. Estonia, within the presidency, will have to address some 500 different issues.
Estonia will organise more than 2,000 meetings in Brussels, and 230 events in Estonia. Informal meetings in Estonia will provide an opportunity to highlight important issues and contribute to the development of common positions. The Government will approve the policy objectives of the Estonian presidency, i.e. the Presidency Programme, immediately before the start of the presidency. The events held in both Estonia and Brussels will also provide a unique opportunity to promote Estonia as the country holding the EU presidency. More than 20,000 visitors are expected to attend the presidency events in Estonia over the six-month term of the presidency.
The Presidency at the Ministry of the Environment
The main task of Estonia as the holder of the Presidency is to ensure that the EU remain unified and have a quorum. One of the priorities of the state is an inclusive and sustainable Europe, which focuses on ensuring a cleaner and more sustainable living environment.
The priorities of the area of environment include:
- climate-related legislation (ETS, ESR, LULUCF) and international negotiations regarding the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC);
The priorities of the area of fishery include:
- a multi-annual plan to manage salmon stocks in the Baltic Sea;
- fish quota regulations in and outside of EU waters.
Further information about the presidency of the Council of the European Union and its organisation is available at EU2017.ee. You can also stay up to date on the preparations for the EU presidency through Facebook and Twitter.
Further information is available at the website of the Council Secretariat.