From 1st January, 2017 till 30th June 2017, Malta is holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union which was established in 2009 by the Lisbon Treaty. Malta, with 6 elected MEPs and the smallest of all 28 EU Member States, has expressed its confidence in taking up this humongous challenge with success.
Malta has joined the EU on 1st May, 2004 and consequently, it is Malta’s first time to hold the Presidency.
Malta’s Presidency theme is ‘REUNION’ and correctly so, the Presidency will be focusing, inter alia, on Europe’s future through numerous meetings and events taking place mainly in Malta and in Brussels.
Indeed, Malta as the Member State holding the Presidency shall further the Council of the European Union’s work. In brief, the Council’s Presidency is held by pre-determined groups of three EU Member States over an 18-month-period, commonly known as the Trio Presidency. The three Member States forming the Trio Presidency are The Netherlands, Slovakia and Malta which Member States have participated in setting out the Council’s program identifying the main areas of the work to be carried out over the 18-month period between January 2016 and June 2017. On the basis of this program, each trio Member State is expected to prepare a 6-month detailed program highlighting the key issues to be given priority during the respective Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The Presidency works on a rotational basis every six months. The Member State holding the Presidency has a unique opportunity to influence the EU’s agenda and its role is to guide the Council’s efforts through its 6 month program. It chairs all the different Council meetings except for the Foreign Affairs Council which is chaired by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
The Presidency also represents the Council of the EU in relations with the other EU institutions.