In the second half of 2017, Estonia will take on the presidency of the EU Council for the first time.
Priorities during the European Presidencies
At the start of each Council Presidency the EESC outlines its priorities in an information brochure for the six-month period. With a very busy programme, the EESC brochure gives a taste of what to expect during the first-time Maltese Presidency.
For the first time in the history of the European Union, twelve years after its accession, the Slovak Republic will take up the presidency of the Council on 1 July.
The Dutch Presidency wants a Union that focuses on the essentials: jobs, growth and connection. Many challenges lie ahead: a.o. unemployment, poverty, an ageing population, the flow of refugees, the rapid change in the global economy, scarce resources, energy costs and the impact of climate change. The Dutch Presidency intends to promote a Union that connects, a Union based on fundamental values supported by its citizens.
The presidency is returning to Luxembourg, a founding Member State that not only plays joint host to the institutions but, thanks to its pivotal position in the centre of Europe, in fact helped to create the fledgling predecessor of today’s European Union. The Grand Duchy will undoubtedly bring to bear its unique and successful experience both in genuinely integrating itself into Europe, and in integrating Europe within its borders.
At a time when the European Parliament has just started a new term and the European Commission has a new team in place, the European Economic and Social Committee is continuing to move forwards as a committed partner of the Latvian Presidency. As the representative of European civil society, our committee has recently seen confirmation of its key role in building a more democratic European Union in the European Parliament report that has recognised its work as being critical to the success of the European citizens’ initiative. And this is the path on which we wish to continue.
The European Economic and Social Committee is staking its claim to be a committed partner for the Italian presidency of the European Union, thus giving a voice to civil society organisations throughout the next six-month period. It has been asked by the presidency to carry out a mid-term evaluation of the Europe 2020 strategy, which it will present at a high-level conference in Rome in December 2014. This partnership will form a strategic platform for promoting the role of citizens as a driving force for change in Europe…
With a critical juncture already fast approaching,the Greek Presidency of the EU represents an opportunity that Europe cannot afford to miss, a chance to influence the direction of change and build a Europe that feels more tangible and familiar to its citizens. At the elections next May,the public will elect a new European Parliament. These elections will also tell us whether or not Europe has managed to convince its citizens that it is effective and that the European venture has been reinvigorated.
Given the ongoing crisis, Europe is faced with a major challenge which it must address successfully: to restore public trust in its ability to act in their interest and in the general European interest. In the run-up to the European Parliament elections in May 2014, the overall direction provided by the Lithuanian presidency will be essential in renewing ties with the public.