The presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) is a six-month period during which a member state of the EU assumes responsibility for leading and coordinating the work of the Council of the EU.
The Council of the European Union, also known as the Council of Ministers, is made up of the respective ministers of the member states. The composition of the Council also varies according to the decisions to be taken or the EU legislation to be negotiated and adopted. For example, foreign ministers form the Foreign Affairs Council, while economic and finance ministers form the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (also known as the ECOFIN Council).
During the six months of the presidency, the country plays a vital role in organizing and leading meetings, summits, and negotiations between member states. The Council presidency is responsible for finding compromises, preparing political decisions, and promoting cooperation between member states.
The EU Council presidency also acts as a mediator and coordinator between the EU institutions, in particular the European Commission and the European Parliament. The country holding the presidency plays a key role in promoting EU policies and implementing the Union’s strategic objectives. It works closely with other member states to develop common positions and advance policy initiatives.
The Council of the EU is not to be confused with the European Council or the Council of Europe. They are different bodies, even though their names sound similar. The European Council is made up of the heads of state or government of the EU member states, the President of the European Council and the President of the EU Commission, who set out the EU’s political objectives and priorities in the form of conclusions. The Council of Europe, which promotes human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, is not an institution of the European Union. It is an independent association of European states with 47 member countries, including Spain and Switzerland.