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Presidency of the
Council of the European Union
""Council of the EU and European Council.svg
Emblem of the Council of the EU
""Flag of Europe.svg
Flag of the "EU
""Flag of Bulgaria.svg
Currently held by
January 2018 - June 2018
"Council of the European Union
"Institutions of the European Union
Status "Chair of a Council
Member of "Council of the European Union
Appointer Rotation among the "member states of the EU (every six month)
"Term length Six months
Constituting instrument "Treaties of the European Union
Formation 1958
First holder "Belgium "Belgium
As first holder of the presidency (1958 Jan-Jun), in the first Trio (T1)
Website eu2018bg.bg
Presidency trio
"Estonia "EstoniaBulgaria"Austria "Austria

The presidency of the Council of the European Union[1] is responsible for the functioning of the "Council of the European Union, the upper house of the "EU legislature. It rotates among the "member states of the EU every six months. The presidency is not an individual, but rather the position is held by a national government. It is sometimes incorrectly referred to as the ""president of the European Union". The presidency's function is to chair meetings of the Council, determine its agendas, set a work programme and facilitate dialogue both at Council meetings and with other "EU institutions. The presidency is currently (as of January 2018) held by "Bulgaria.

Three successive presidencies are known as presidency trios.[2] The current trio (2017-18) is made up of "Estonia (Jul-Dec 2017), "Bulgaria (Jan-Jun 2018) and "Austria (Jul-Dec 2018).



When the Council was established, its work was minimal and the presidency rotated between each of the then six members every six months. However, as the work load of the Council grew and the membership increased, the lack of coordination between each successive six-month presidency hindered the development of long-term priorities for the EU.

In order to rectify the lack of coordination, the idea of trio presidencies was put forward where groups of three successive presidencies cooperated on a common political program. This was implemented in 2007 and formally laid down in the "EU treaties in 2009 by the "Treaty of Lisbon.

Until 2009, the Presidency had assumed political responsibility in all areas of European integration and it played a vital role in brokering high-level political decisions.

The "Treaty of Lisbon reduced the importance of the Presidency significantly by officially separating the "European Council from the "Council of the European Union. Simultaneously it split the "foreign affairs Council configuration from the "General Affairs configuration and created the position of "High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

After the United Kingdom's "Brexit vote in 2016 and its subsequent relinquishment of its scheduled presidency in the Council of the European Union which was due to take place from July to December 2017, the rotation of presidencies was brought six months forward. Estonia was scheduled to take over the UK's six-month slot instead.[3] The presidency is currently (as of January 2018) held by "Bulgaria.


""Flag of Europe.svg
This article is part of a series on the
"politics and government of
European Union

The Council meets in various formations where its composition depends on the topic discussed. For example, the Agriculture Council is composed of the national ministers responsible for Agriculture.[4]

The primary responsibility of the Presidency is to organise and chair all meetings of the Council, apart from the "Foreign Affairs Council which is chaired by the "High Representative. So, for instance, the Minister of Agriculture for the state holding the presidency chairs the Agriculture council. This role includes working out compromises capable of resolving difficulties.

Article 16(9) of the Treaty on European Union provides:

The Presidency of Council configurations, other than that of Foreign Affairs, shall be held by Member State representatives in the Council on the basis of equal rotation, in accordance with the conditions established in accordance with Article 236 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Each three successive presidencies cooperate on a "triple-shared presidency" work together over an 18-month period to accomplish a common agenda by the current president simply continuing the work of the previous "lead-president" after the end of his/her term. This ensures more consistency in comparison to a usual single six-month presidency and each three includes a "new member state. This allows new member states to hold the presidency sooner and helps old member states pass their experience to the new members.

The role of the rotating Council Presidency includes:

Holding the rotating Council Presidency includes both advantages and disadvantages for member states; The opportunities include:

  1. member states have the possibility to show their negotiating skills, as "honest brokers", thus gaining influence and prestige;
  2. member states gain a privileged access to information: at the end of their term, they know member states' preferences better than anyone else
  3. the Council programme may enable member states to focus Council discussion on issues of particular national/regional interest (e.g.: Finland and the "Northern Dimension initiative)

The burdens include:

  1. lack of administrative capacities and experience, especially for small and new member states; the concept of trio/troika has been introduced to enable member states to share experiences and ensure coherence on an 18-months base;
  2. expenses in time and money, needed to support the administrative machine;
  3. not being able to push through their own interests, as the role of Council Presidency is seen as an impartial instance; member states trying to push for initiatives of their own national interest are likely to see them failing in the medium run (e.g., the French 2008 Presidency and the "Union for the Mediterranean project), as they need consensus and do not have enough time to reach it. This element is particularly substantial: holding the presidency may be, on balance, a disadvantage for member states.

The rotating presidency is probably not needed any more, with the 2009 reforms by the "Treaty of Lisbon, but reforming it has proved incredibly difficult: it still enables little states to stand up and try to push forward vital policies; it represents a sharing of administrative burdens, enabling the coordination of policies, the stability of the Council agenda (through the troika) and providing learning and experience for member states' public administrations.

List of rotations[edit]

Period Trio Holder Head of government [note 1] Website
1958 Jan–Jun    "Belgium "Achille Van Acker
"Gaston Eyskens (from 26 June)
Jul–Dec  "West Germany "Konrad Adenauer
1959 Jan–Jun  "France "Charles de Gaulle*
Jul–Dec  "Italy "Antonio Segni
1960 Jan–Jun  "Luxembourg "Pierre Werner
Jul–Dec  "Netherlands "Jan de Quay
1961 Jan–Jun  "Belgium Gaston Eyskens
"Théo Lefèvre (from 25 April)
Jul–Dec  "West Germany Konrad Adenauer
1962 Jan–Jun  "France Charles de Gaulle*
Jul–Dec  "Italy "Amintore Fanfani
1963 Jan–Jun  "Luxembourg Pierre Werner
Jul–Dec  "Netherlands Jan de Quay
"Victor Marijnen (from 24 July)
1964 Jan–Jun  "Belgium Théo Lefèvre
Jul–Dec  "West Germany "Ludwig Erhard
1965 Jan–Jun  "France Charles de Gaulle*
Jul–Dec  "Italy "Aldo Moro
1966 Jan–Jun  "Luxembourg Pierre Werner
Jul–Dec  "Netherlands "Jo Cals
"Jelle Zijlstra (from 22 November)
1967 Jan–Jun  "Belgium "Paul Vanden Boeynants
Jul–Dec  "West Germany "Kurt Georg Kiesinger
1968 Jan–Jun  "France Charles de Gaulle*
Jul–Dec  "Italy "Giovanni Leone
"Mariano Rumor (from 12 December)
1969 Jan–Jun  "Luxembourg Pierre Werner
Jul–Dec  "Netherlands "Piet de Jong
1970 Jan–Jun  "Belgium Gaston Eyskens
Jul–Dec  "West Germany "Willy Brandt
1971 Jan–Jun  "France "Georges Pompidou*
Jul–Dec  "Italy "Emilio Colombo
1972 Jan–Jun  "Luxembourg Pierre Werner
Jul–Dec  "Netherlands "Barend Biesheuvel
1973 Jan–Jun  "Belgium Gaston Eyskens
"Edmond Leburton (from 26 January)
Jul–Dec  "Denmark "Anker Jørgensen
"Poul Hartling (from 19 December)
1974 Jan–Jun  "West Germany Willy Brandt
"Walter Scheel (7–16 May)
"Helmut Schmidt (from 16 May)
Jul–Dec  "France "Valéry Giscard d'Estaing*
1975 Jan–Jun  "Ireland "Liam Cosgrave
Jul–Dec  "Italy Aldo Moro
1976 Jan–Jun  "Luxembourg "Gaston Thorn
Jul–Dec  "Netherlands "Joop den Uyl
1977 Jan–Jun  "United Kingdom "James Callaghan
Jul–Dec  "Belgium "Leo Tindemans
1978 Jan–Jun  "Denmark Anker Jørgensen
Jul–Dec  "West Germany Helmut Schmidt
1979 Jan–Jun  "France Valéry Giscard d'Estaing*
Jul–Dec  "Ireland "Jack Lynch
"Charles Haughey
(from 11 December)
1980 Jan–Jun  "Italy "Francesco Cossiga
Jul–Dec  "Luxembourg Pierre Werner
1981 Jan–Jun  "Netherlands "Dries van Agt
Jul–Dec  "United Kingdom "Margaret Thatcher
1982 Jan–Jun  "Belgium "Wilfried Martens
Jul–Dec  "Denmark Anker Jørgensen
"Poul Schlüter (from 10 September)
1983 Jan–Jun  "West Germany "Helmut Kohl
Jul–Dec  "Greece "Andreas Papandreou
1984 Jan–Jun  "France "François Mitterrand*
Jul–Dec  "Ireland "Garret FitzGerald
1985 Jan–Jun  "Italy "Bettino Craxi
Jul–Dec  "Luxembourg "Jacques Santer
1986 Jan–Jun  "Netherlands "Ruud Lubbers
Jul–Dec  "United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher
1987 Jan–Jun  "Belgium Wilfried Martens
Jul–Dec  "Denmark Poul Schlüter
1988 Jan–Jun  "West Germany Helmut Kohl
Jul–Dec  "Greece Andreas Papandreou
1989 Jan–Jun  "Spain "Felipe González
Jul–Dec  "France François Mitterrand*
1990 Jan–Jun  "Ireland Charles Haughey
Jul–Dec  "Italy "Giulio Andreotti
1991 Jan–Jun  "Luxembourg Jacques Santer
Jul–Dec  "Netherlands Ruud Lubbers
1992 Jan–Jun  "Portugal "Aníbal Cavaco Silva
Jul–Dec  "United Kingdom "John Major
1993 Jan–Jun  "Denmark Poul Schlüter
"Poul Nyrup Rasmussen (from 25 January)
Jul–Dec  "Belgium "Jean-Luc Dehaene
1994 Jan–Jun  "Greece Andreas Papandreou
Jul–Dec  "Germany Helmut Kohl
1995 Jan–Jun  "France François Mitterrand*
"Jacques Chirac* (from 17 May)
Jul–Dec  "Spain Felipe González
1996 Jan–Jun  "Italy "Lamberto Dini
"Romano Prodi (from 17 May)
Jul–Dec  "Ireland "John Bruton
1997 Jan–Jun  "Netherlands "Wim Kok
Jul–Dec  "Luxembourg "Jean-Claude Juncker
1998 Jan–Jun  "United Kingdom "Tony Blair presid.fco.gov.uk
Jul–Dec  "Austria "Viktor Klima presidency.gv.at
1999 Jan–Jun  "Germany "Gerhard Schröder
Jul–Dec  "Finland "Paavo Lipponen presidency.finland.fi
2000 Jan–Jun  "Portugal "António Guterres
Jul–Dec  "France Jacques Chirac*
2001 Jan–Jun  "Sweden "Göran Persson eu2001.se
Jul–Dec  "Belgium "Guy Verhofstadt eu2001.be
2002 Jan–Jun  "Spain "José María Aznar ue2002.es
Jul–Dec  "Denmark "Anders Fogh Rasmussen eu2002.dk
2003 Jan–Jun  "Greece "Costas Simitis eu2003.gr
Jul–Dec  "Italy "Silvio Berlusconi ueitalia2003.it
2004 Jan–Jun  "Ireland "Bertie Ahern eu2004.ie
Jul–Dec  "Netherlands "Jan Peter Balkenende eu2004.nl
2005 Jan–Jun  "Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker eu2005.lu
Jul–Dec  "United Kingdom Tony Blair eu2005.gov.uk
2006 Jan–Jun  "Austria "Wolfgang Schüssel eu2006.at
Jul–Dec  "Finland[note 2] "Matti Vanhanen eu2006.fi
2007 Jan–Jun T1  "Germany "Angela Merkel eu2007.de
Jul–Dec  "Portugal "José Sócrates eu2007.pt
2008 Jan–Jun  "Slovenia "Janez Janša eu2008.si
Jul–Dec T2  "France "Nicolas Sarkozy* ue2008.fr
2009 Jan–Jun  "Czech Republic "Mirek Topolánek
"Jan Fischer (from 8 May)
Jul–Dec  "Sweden "Fredrik Reinfeldt se2009.eu
2010 Jan–Jun T3  "Spain "José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero eu2010.es
Jul–Dec  "Belgium "Yves Leterme eutrio.be
2011 Jan–Jun  "Hungary "Viktor Orbán eu2011.hu
Jul–Dec T4  "Poland "Donald Tusk pl2011.eu
2012 Jan–Jun  "Denmark "Helle Thorning-Schmidt eu2012.dk
Jul–Dec  "Cyprus "Demetris Christofias* cy2012.eu
2013 Jan–Jun T5  "Ireland "Enda Kenny eu2013.ie
Jul–Dec  "Lithuania "Algirdas Butkevičius eu2013.lt
2014 Jan–Jun  "Greece "Antonis Samaras gr2014.eu
Jul–Dec T6  "Italy "Matteo Renzi italia2014.eu
2015 Jan–Jun  "Latvia "Laimdota Straujuma eu2015.lv
Jul–Dec  "Luxembourg "Xavier Bettel eu2015lu.eu
2016 Jan–Jun T7  "Netherlands "Mark Rutte eu2016.nl
Jul–Dec  "Slovakia "Robert Fico eu2016.sk
2017 Jan–Jun  "Malta "Joseph Muscat eu2017.mt
Jul–Dec T8  "Estonia[note 3] "Jüri Ratas eu2017.ee
2018 Jan-Jun  "Bulgaria "Boyko Borisov eu2018bg.bg
Jul–Dec  "Austria "Sebastian Kurz eu2018.at
2019 Jan–Jun T9  "Romania TBD TBD
Jul–Dec  "Finland TBD TBD
2020 Jan–Jun  "Croatia TBD TBD
Jul-Dec T10  "Germany TBD TBD
2021 Jan–Jun  "Portugal TBD TBD
Jul-Dec  "Slovenia TBD TBD
2022 Jan–Jun T11  "France TBD TBD
Jul-Dec  "Czech Republic TBD TBD
2023 Jan–Jun  "Sweden TBD TBD
Jul-Dec T12  "Spain TBD TBD
2024 Jan–Jun  "Belgium TBD TBD
Jul-Dec  "Hungary TBD TBD
2025 Jan–Jun T13  "Poland TBD TBD
Jul-Dec  "Denmark TBD TBD
2026 Jan–Jun  "Cyprus TBD TBD
Jul-Dec T14  "Ireland TBD TBD
2027 Jan–Jun  "Lithuania TBD TBD
Jul-Dec  "Greece TBD TBD
2028 Jan–Jun T15  "Italy TBD TBD
Jul-Dec  "Latvia TBD TBD
2029 Jan–Jun  "Luxembourg TBD TBD
Jul-Dec T16  "Netherlands TBD TBD
2030 Jan–Jun  "Slovakia TBD TBD
Jul-Dec  "Malta TBD TBD

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Asterisk: Head of government is also head of state. This is the case for France and Cyprus.
  2. ^ Germany was due to succeed Austria in 2006 but stepped aside as general elections were scheduled for that period. Finland, as next in line, took Germany's place. Eventually the German elections took place in 2005 due to a loss of confidence vote, but the re-arrangement remained.
  3. ^ It was originally intended for the "United Kingdom to hold the presidency from 1 July to 31 December 2017, but after "a referendum in June 2016 to leave the EU, the "UK government informed the "European Union that it would abandon its presidency for late 2017 and was replaced instead by "Estonia.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Council of the European Union". Consilium. Retrieved 14 May 2016. 
  3. ^ "Council rotating presidencies: decision on revised order" (Press release). "Council of the European Union. 2016-07-26. Retrieved 2016-07-26. 
  4. ^ "Council of the European Union configurations". Council of the EU. 

External links[edit]

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