Presidency of the Council of the European Union

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The presidency of the Council of the European Union , also known as the EU Council Presidency or Council Presidency , rotates according to Article 16 (9) of the EU Treaty on an equal basis between the EU member states . Every six months, the Council Presidency changes between the EU member states according to a set order. The procedure can be changed unanimously by the European Council in accordance with Article 236 b) of the FEU Treaty . It will meet under the chairmanship of Slovenia in the second half of 2021 .

Since the Council of the European Union meets in different configurations (e.g. as a Council of Economic Ministers , Council of Environment Ministers, etc.), a different minister takes the chair in each of these configurations. In the strict sense of the word, there is no such thing as a single President-in-Office of the Council. However, the General Affairs Council , in which the EU foreign ministers meet, plays a coordinating role between the various Council formations. This is why the foreign minister of the country holding the rotating presidency is often referred to as the council president.

In order to enable a certain degree of continuity despite the regular changes in the presidency, since 2007 three countries that formally hold the Council Presidency one after the other have been creating a joint "eighteen-month program". This collaboration is also known as a trio or team presidency . After the Treaty of Lisbon came into force in 2009, a decision by the European Council also gave it a basis in European law .

An exception to the system of rotating Council presidencies is the Foreign Affairs Council , which has been chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy , who has been elected for five years since the Treaty of Lisbon came into force . Since December 1, 2019, this has been Josep Borrell .

As a result of the exit vote in Great Britain (which was originally supposed to take over the chairmanship in the second half of 2017, but has now renounced), a resolution was accepted by the member states on July 27, 2016 to bring the periods of the countries classified below forward by six months. "The EU has now set all Council presidencies up to the year 2030."


The tasks of the Council Presidency are:

  • organize and conduct the meetings of the Council,
  • in the event of problems between Member States or between the Council and other Union institutions, to work out compromise proposals in coordination with the parties concerned and
  • to represent the Council vis-à-vis other institutions and bodies of the Union, as well as vis-à-vis other international organizations and third countries .

The Council President is assisted in these activities by the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union .

Trio presidency

Since the Council Presidency changes every six months, it is difficult to continuously oversee long-term political tasks. That is why, since 2007, three successive Council presidencies have been working together in what is known as a “trio presidency”. This can be seen on the one hand in the development of a joint eighteen -month program to which the six-monthly programs of the individual Council presidencies are coordinated. On the other hand, the respective Council President can also be represented by one of the other two countries at meetings. The exact arrangement of the division of labor between the three members of the trio presidency is up to them.

Eighteen-month program (trio program)

Pursuant to Article 2, Paragraph 6 of the Rules of Procedure of the Council of the European Union , the three-man presidency draws up a draft program for the joint trio every 18 months in close cooperation with the European Commission , the President of the European Council and the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy - Period (eighteen-month Council program or trio program for short). This program is divided into three parts, with the first part setting out the strategic framework of the program in a larger context and in particular from the perspective of longer-term objectives relevant to the three successive Presidencies. A second part lists the specific priorities of the three Presidencies in each policy area, while the third part consists of a comprehensive program of the issues to be dealt with over the eighteen month period. The eighteen month program will be submitted to the General Affairs Council for approval at least one month before the relevant period .

According to Article 3 (1) of the Council's rules of procedure, the eighteen-month program must be taken into account when drawing up the agenda for each meeting.


A first system of a “triple” or “ troika ” presidency was introduced as early as 1981, after the Council Presidency had gained political importance, especially in the area of European political cooperation , and at the same time the burden on the individual governments had increased. The presidency has since been assisted by a small staff of officials posted by previous and subsequent presidencies. These officials remained in the service of their national foreign ministry and were part of the staff of their embassy in the capital of the presidency. But they were available to the presidency and worked under its leadership. The president could also delegate certain tasks to his successor or ask his predecessor to end tasks that were about to be completed when the presidency was handed over. This should enable a smooth transition from one presidency to the next.

In 2004, the EU Constitutional Treaty provided for the transition to a “trio presidency” in which three member states were to jointly carry out the work of the presidency. Each of the three countries should formally continue to hold the presidency for six months, but the associated tasks should be able to be shared among the three countries. While in the Troika model the members of the Troika changed every six months, the Trio Presidency should remain unchanged over the entire period of 18 months.

Although the constitutional treaty failed in the ratification process, this system was introduced in January 2007 with a change in the Council's rules of procedure . The first trio therefore formed the German , Portuguese and Slovenian Council Presidencies in 2007/2008. In the run-up to their Council Presidency, the three countries adopted a joint work program in which they coordinated their national initiatives and priorities. The Treaty of Lisbon , which was passed in 2007, finally took up the provisions of the constitutional treaty and created the possibility of formalizing the trio presidency by means of an EU resolution ( Art. 236 TFEU ). A corresponding resolution was passed immediately after the contract came into force on December 1, 2009.

Council presidencies in chronological order

The following table shows the countries that have held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union to date , with their respective Foreign Ministers who have held the Presidency of the General Affairs Council . After the establishment of the European Council , in which the heads of state and government of the EU have met since 1974 , its presidency was initially linked to the council presidency. With the Treaty of Lisbon , the office of permanent President of the European Council was created from December 2009 , who no longer belongs to the government of a specific member state.

predecessor government office successor
Portuguese EU Council Presidency Slovenian EU Council Presidency
July 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021
French EU Council Presidency
cycle year Council Presidency Chairman of the European Council (Head of Government),
permanent President from 2010
Chairman of the Council for General Affairs (Foreign and European Ministers) Internet presence Main Products trio
1 1958 BelgiumBelgium Belgium Victor Larock
Germany Federal RepublicFederal Republic of Germany BR Germany Heinrich von Brentano
1959 FranceFrance France Maurice Couve de Murville
ItalyItaly Italy Giuseppe Pella
1960 LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg Eugène Schaus
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands Joseph Luns
2 1961 BelgiumBelgium Belgium Paul-Henri Spaak
Germany Federal RepublicFederal Republic of Germany BR Germany Gerhard Schröder
1962 FranceFrance France Maurice Couve de Murville
ItalyItaly Italy Emilio Colombo
1963 LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg Eugène Schaus
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands Joseph Luns
3 1964 BelgiumBelgium Belgium Hendrik Fayat
Germany Federal RepublicFederal Republic of Germany BR Germany Gerhard Schröder
1965 FranceFrance France Maurice Couve de Murville
ItalyItaly Italy Amintore Fanfani
1966 LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg Pierre Werner
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands Barend Biesheuvel
4th 1967 BelgiumBelgium Belgium Renaat Van Elslande
Germany Federal RepublicFederal Republic of Germany BR Germany Willy Brandt
1968 FranceFrance France Maurice Couve de Murville
ItalyItaly Italy Giuseppe Medici
1969 LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg Pierre Grégoire
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands Joseph Luns
5 1970 BelgiumBelgium Belgium Pierre Harmel
Germany Federal RepublicFederal Republic of Germany BR Germany Walter Scheel
1971 FranceFrance France Maurice Schumann
ItalyItaly Italy Aldo Moro
1972 LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg Gaston Thorn
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands Norbert Schmelzer
6th 1973 BelgiumBelgium Belgium Pierre Harmel
DenmarkDenmark Denmark Ivar Nørgaard
1974 Germany Federal RepublicFederal Republic of Germany BR Germany Walter Scheel
FranceFrance France Jean Sauvagnargues
1975 IrelandIreland Ireland Liam Cosgrave Garret FitzGerald
ItalyItaly Italy Aldo Moro Mariano Rumor
1976 LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg Gaston Thorn Gaston Thorn
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands Joop the Uyl Max van der Stoel
1977 United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom James Callaghan Anthony Crosland , later David Owen
7th BelgiumBelgium Belgium Leo Tindemans Henri Simonet
1978 DenmarkDenmark Denmark Anchor Jørgensen Knud Børge Andersen
Germany Federal RepublicFederal Republic of Germany BR Germany Helmut Schmidt Hans-Dietrich Genscher
1979 FranceFrance France Valery Giscard d'Estaing Jean François-Poncet
IrelandIreland Ireland Jack Lynch ,
from December 11th Charles J. Haughey
Michael O'Kennedy
1980 ItalyItaly Italy Francesco Cossiga Attilio Ruffini
LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg Pierre Werner Colette Flesch
1981 NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands Dries van Agt Chris van der Klaauw
United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher Peter Carington
8th 1982 BelgiumBelgium Belgium Wilfried Martens Leo Tindemans
DenmarkDenmark Denmark Anker Jørgensen ,
from September 10th Poul Schlüter
Uffe Ellemann-Jensen
1983 Germany Federal RepublicFederal Republic of Germany BR Germany Helmut Kohl Hans-Dietrich Genscher
GreeceGreece Greece Andreas Papandreou Grigoris Varfis
1984 FranceFrance France François Mitterrand Roland Dumas
IrelandIreland Ireland Garret FitzGerald Peter Barry
1985 ItalyItaly Italy Bettino Craxi Giulio Andreotti
LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg Jacques Santer Jacques Poos
1986 NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands Ruud Lubbers Hans van den Broek
United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher Geoffrey Howe
9 1987 BelgiumBelgium Belgium Wilfried Martens Leo Tindemans
DenmarkDenmark Denmark Poul Schlueter Uffe Ellemann-Jensen
1988 Germany Federal RepublicFederal Republic of Germany BR Germany Helmut Kohl Hans-Dietrich Genscher
GreeceGreece Greece Andreas Papandreou Theodoros Pangalos
1989 SpainSpain Spain Felipe González Francisco Fernández Ordóñez
FranceFrance France François Mitterrand Roland Dumas
1990 IrelandIreland Ireland Charles J. Haughey Gerard Collins
ItalyItaly Italy Giulio Andreotti Gianni De Michelis
1991 LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg Jacques Santer Jacques Poos
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands Ruud Lubbers Hans van den Broek
1992 PortugalPortugal Portugal Aníbal Cavaco Silva João de Deus Pinheiro
United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom John Major Douglas Hurd
10 1993 DenmarkDenmark Denmark Poul Schlueter ,
from January 25th Poul Nyrup Rasmussen
Uffe Ellemann-Jensen ,
from January 25th Niels Helveg Petersen
BelgiumBelgium Belgium Jean-Luc Dehaene Willy Claes
1994 GreeceGreece Greece Andreas Papandreou Karolos Papoulias
GermanyGermany Germany Helmut Kohl Klaus Kinkel
1995 FranceFrance France François Mitterrand ,
from May 17th Jacques Chirac
Alain Juppé , Hervé de Charette
from May 17th
SpainSpain Spain Felipe González Javier Solana
1996 ItalyItaly Italy Lamberto Dini ,
from May 18th Romano Prodi
Susanna Agnelli ,
from May 18th Lamberto Dini
IrelandIreland Ireland John Bruton Dick Spring
1997 NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands Wim Kok Hans van Mierlo
LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker Jacques Poos
1998 United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom Tony Blair Robin Cook
11th AustriaAustria Austria Viktor Klima Wolfgang bowl
1999 GermanyGermany Germany Gerhard Schröder Joschka Fischer
FinlandFinland Finland Paavo Lipponen Tarja Halons
2000 PortugalPortugal Portugal Antonio Guterres Jaime Gama
FranceFrance France Lionel Jospin Hubert Védrine
2001 SwedenSweden Sweden Göran Persson Anna Lindh
BelgiumBelgium Belgium Guy Verhofstadt Louis Michel
2002 SpainSpain Spain José María Aznar Josep Piqué i Camps
DenmarkDenmark Denmark Not so Fogh Rasmussen Per Stig Møller
2003 GreeceGreece Greece Konstantinos Simitis Giorgos Andrea Papandreou
ItalyItaly Italy Silvio Berlusconi Franco Frattini
2004 IrelandIreland Ireland Bertie Ahern Brian Cowen
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands Jan Peter Balkenende Ben bot
2005 LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker Jean Asselborn
United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom Tony Blair Jack Straw
12th 2006 AustriaAustria Austria Wolfgang bowl Ursula Plassnik
FinlandFinland Finland Matti Vanhanen Erkki Tuomioja
2007 GermanyGermany Germany Angela Merkel Frank-Walter Steinmeier German EU Council Presidency 2007 01
PortugalPortugal Portugal José Sócrates Luís Filipe Marques Amado Portuguese EU Council Presidency 2007
2008 SloveniaSlovenia Slovenia Janez Janša Dimitrij Rupel Slovenian EU Council Presidency 2008
FranceFrance France Nicolas Sarkozy Bernard Kouchner French EU Council Presidency 2008 02
2009 Czech RepublicCzech Republic Czech Republic Mirek Topolánek ,
from May 9th Jan Fischer
Karel Schwarzenberg ,
from May 9th Jan Kohout Czech EU Council Presidency 2009
SwedenSweden Sweden Fredrik Reinfeldt Carl Bildt Swedish EU Council Presidency 2009
2010 SpainSpain Spain Herman Van Rompuy Miguel Ángel Moratinos Spanish EU Council Presidency 2010 03
BelgiumBelgium Belgium Steven Vanackere Belgian EU Council Presidency 2010
2011 HungaryHungary Hungary János Martonyi Hungarian EU Council Presidency 2011
PolandPoland Poland Radoslaw Sikorski Polish EU Council Presidency 2011 04th
2012 DenmarkDenmark Denmark Nicolai dewlaps Danish EU Council Presidency 2012
Cyprus RepublicRepublic of cyprus Cyprus Herman Van Rompuy Erato Kozakou-Markoullis Cyprus EU Council Presidency 2012
2013 IrelandIreland Ireland Eamon Gilmore Irish EU Presidency 2013 05
LithuaniaLithuania Lithuania Linas Antanas Linkevičius Lithuanian EU Council Presidency 2013
2014 GreeceGreece Greece Evangelos Venizelos Greek EU Council Presidency 2014
ItalyItaly Italy Federica Mogherini ,
from October 31st Paolo Gentiloni Italian EU Council Presidency 2014 06th
2015 LatviaLatvia Latvia Donald Tusk Edgars Rinkēvičs Latvian EU Council Presidency 2015
LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg Jean Asselborn Luxembourg EU Council Presidency 2015
2016 NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands Bert Koenders Dutch EU Council Presidency 2016 07th
SlovakiaSlovakia Slovakia Miroslav Lajčák Slovak EU Council Presidency 2016
2017 MaltaMalta Malta George Vella Maltese EU Presidency 2017
13th EstoniaEstonia Estonia ¹ Donald Tusk Sven Mikser Estonian EU Council Presidency 2017 08th
2018 BulgariaBulgaria Bulgaria ¹ Ekaterina Sakhareva Bulgarian EU Council Presidency 2018
AustriaAustria Austria ¹ Gernot Blümel Austrian EU Council Presidency 2018
2019 RomaniaRomania Romania ¹ Teodor Meleșcanu Romanian EU Council Presidency 2019 09
FinlandFinland Finland ¹ Tytti Tuppurainen Finnish EU Council Presidency 2019
2020 CroatiaCroatia Croatia ¹ Charles Michel Gordan Grlić Radman Croatian EU Council Presidency 2020
GermanyGermany Germany ² Heiko Maas German EU Council Presidency 2020 10
2021 PortugalPortugal Portugal ² Augusto Santos Silva Portuguese EU Council Presidency 2021
SloveniaSlovenia Slovenia ² Anže Logar Slovenian EU Council Presidency 2021
2022 FranceFrance France ² Emmanuel Macron French EU Council Presidency 2022 11th
Czech RepublicCzech Republic Czech Republic ² ... ... ... ...
2023 SwedenSweden Sweden ² ... ... ...
SpainSpain Spain ² ... ... ... 12th
2024 BelgiumBelgium Belgium ² ... ... ...
HungaryHungary Hungary ² ... ... ...
2025 PolandPoland Poland ² ... ... ... ... 13th
DenmarkDenmark Denmark ² ... ... ...
2026 Cyprus RepublicRepublic of cyprus Cyprus ² ... ... ...
IrelandIreland Ireland ² ... ... ... 14th
2027 LithuaniaLithuania Lithuania ² ... ... ...
GreeceGreece Greece ² ... ... ... ...
2028 ItalyItaly Italy ² ... ... ... 15th
LatviaLatvia Latvia ² ... ... ...
2029 LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg ² ... ... ...
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands ² ... ... ... 16
2030 SlovakiaSlovakia Slovakia ² ... ... ... ...
MaltaMalta Malta ² ... ... ...
  • Cycle 1 to 5 → EEC-6 = Belgium, FR Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands
  • Cycle 6 to 7 → EG-9 = EWG-6 + Denmark, Ireland, United Kingdom
  • Cycle 8 → EG-10 = EG-9 + Greece
  • Cycle 9 to 10 → EG-12 = EG-10 + Portugal, Spain; Termination of the 10th cycle, only 11 of the 12 EC countries (excluding Portugal) and early start of the 11th cycle of the EU-15 with Austria
  • Cycle 11 → EU-15 = EG-12 + Finland, Austria, Sweden
  • Cycle 12 → EU-25 = EU-15 + Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Cyprus; Omission of Great Britain after the vote to leave the EU, thus early start of the 13th cycle. - The 12th cycle therefore without Estonia and the beginning of the 13th cycle with Estonia. ¹
  • Cycle 13 → EU-27 = EU-25 + Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia - UK exit from the EU

¹ Originally the United Kingdom was supposed to take over the EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2017. After the British vote to leave the EU (“Brexit”) on June 23, 2016, the European Parliament demanded that the UK should not hold an EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2017. For its part, the British government announced on July 20, 2016 that it would not hold the Council Presidency. The EU states therefore decided to bring the presidency of Estonia and the countries that had been divided up to 2020 (i.e. up to and including Croatia) forward by six months each. Originally, Estonia should not have assumed the chairmanship until the 100th anniversary of the founding of the state, and Austria not in the half-year (2nd half of 2018) in which the next National Council elections should normally take place.

² On July 26, 2016, the Council decided on the order of the presidencies until 2030.

Parliamentary dimension of the EU Council Presidency

A parliamentary dimension of the EU Council Presidency has developed since 2000 . The national parliamentary chambers shape the dimension at their own discretion, whereby the parliamentary speakers of the European Union agreed on common rules of procedure in the year 2000. This was last changed during the Conference of the Presidents of Parliament of the European Union (EU-PPK) in Stockholm in 2010. The parliamentary dimension of the EU Council Presidency is independent of the EU Council Presidency. The final communique is also sent regularly to the President of the European Commission.


With the initial issue date July 2, 2020 was the German Post AG on the occasion of the EU Presidency of the Federal Republic of Germany a special stamp in the denomination out of 80 euro cents. The design comes from the graphic designers Annette le Fort and André Heers from Berlin.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Decision of the Council of 1 December 2009 laying down measures for the implementation of the decision of the European Council on the exercise of the presidency of the Council and on the presidency of the preparatory bodies of the Council .
  2. a b Fix: Estonia takes over EU presidency for Great Britain,, July 27, 2016, accessed July 27, 2016.
  3. European Parliament : "European policy in a duet: the Council Presidency and Parliament" (Europarl website)
  4. ^ Federal Foreign Office: Joint press release by the trio partners Germany, Portugal and Slovenia on the 18-month program. Retrieved June 16, 2020 .
  5. ^ Report on European Political Cooperation (London, October 13, 1981), in Bulletin of the European Communities (1981), special supplement 3/1981, pp. 15-19.
  6. See Declaration 4 (PDF) on the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe.
  7. Parliament wants a quick “Brexit” against uncertainty and far-reaching EU reform. In: European Parliament. Retrieved July 1, 2016 .
  8. Brussels: Great Britain waives its 2017 EU Council Presidency. Spiegel Online, July 20, 2016, accessed on the same day.
  9. Estonia is to take over the EU Presidency for Great Britain in 2017. Süddeutsche via dpa -Newskanal, July 20, 2016, accessed on August 26, 2020 .
  10. “Brexit” pushes EU presidency in election time, July 27, 2016, accessed March 12, 2017.
  11. European Council: Rotating Council Presidency: Decision to change the order of July 26, 2016, accessed on August 4, 2016.
  12. President of Parliament of the European Union: Rules of Procedure of the Conference of Presidents of Parliament of the European Union. (PDF) Secretariat of the Conference of Presidents of Parliaments of the European Union, accessed on January 14, 2020 .