Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

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Croatia EU Council Presidency 2020
Ministry of Science and Education

For the first time, Croatia will hold the presidency of the EU Council since joining the European Union in 2013. What exactly does this mean?

Every 6 months, three European Union country members rotate through the position of the President of the Council of the European Union. These three countries are called “a trio”. During this 6-month period, the trio manages all the meetings of the EU Council.

Their goal is to ensure the continuity of work of the EU Council. In addition, the trio brings long-term goals and prepares a joint program for the EU Council for the next 18 months. Based on this program, this trio of countries prepares their 6-month plans.

From January 1 until June 30, 2020, the Presidency of the EU Council consists of:

  • Croatia
  • Romania
  • Finland

Responsibilities of the EU Council Presidency

During the term, the trio is expected to be a fair and neutral mediator. The Presidency of the EU council is responsible for:

  • Encouraging the EU Council to work on EU legislation
  • Ensuring the continuity of the EU program
  • Managing the smooth flow of the legislative processes and cooperation between members of the EU

The Presidency’s main tasks are:

  1. Leading the work of the EU Council
  2. Planning meetings of the EU Council and its bodies
  3. Representing the Council in relations with other EU institutions
  4. Building cooperation and agreement between the EU Members

The Presidency works closely with:

  • The President of the European Council
  • A high representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy

What does a Croatian Presidency mean?

There are a variety of implications, benefits, and responsibilities associated with holding the presidency. Let’s go through exactly what this role will mean for Croatia.

Does Croatia have any benefits?

Croatia as a president of the EU Council must promote the interests of the European Union, and not its own national interests. However, in the long term, Croatia can use the presidency to increase its power within other EU bodies if the state does a good job during the presidential term, which can lead to furthering Croatian interests down the line.

In addition, the presidential country inevitably becomes more visible in international media. This will help Croatia to achieve a wider audience. This responsibility can also strengthen Croatia’s negotiating power when questions regarding our national interest are raised.

What are Croatia’s primary goals during the presidency?

Croatia has submitted a program for the 6-month presidency. Croatia will focus on four priorities united in the motto “Snažna Europa u svijetu punom izazova” (“A Strong Europe in a World of Challenges”).

These 4 priorities are:

1. Europa koja se razvija (“A Europe that develops”)

Croatia will focus on the further development of policies that will encourage:

  • Better working conditions
  • Better living conditions
  • Protecting the environment
  • Fight against climate change

2. Europa koja spaja (“A Europe that connects”)

Croatia will focus on further development of policies that will encourage:

  • Infrastructural connectivity of the European Union
  • Bringing EU citizens together through education, culture, and sports

These policies will bring:

  • Social, economic and territorial cohesion
  • Better transport
  • Better energy transport
  • Better digital infrastructure and interconnection

3. Europa koja štiti (“A Europe that protects”)

Croatia will focus on further development of policies that will encourage:

  • Freedom, security, and justice
  • Sharing our common values
  • Democracy

These policies will bring:

  • Stronger internal security
  • Effective control of external borders
  • Interoperability of IT systems
  • Stronger resilience to external threats (hybrid and cyber threats)
  • Sustainable and effective migration and asylum policy
  • Effective control of external borders

4. Utjecajna Europa (“An influential Europe”)

Croatia will focus on the further development of policies that will encourage:

  • Stability
  • Security
  • Further economic development
  • Connectivity on the European continent

You can examine the main goals of the Croatian presidency of the Council of the EU in detail in the Programme of the Croatian presidency of the Council of the European Union.

What will happen during the Croatian presidency?

During the Croatian presidency, 1400 different kinds of EU Council meetings will be organized, mostly in Brussels. 161 events will be held in Croatia, mostly in Zagreb. Several conferences are also going to be organized.

The discussions will cover the protection of consumers, the defense industry, transplantation of organs, cohesion policy, migration, demographic challenges, tourism, the European Social Fund, and transport infrastructure.

For more information on what Croatia has planned for the presidency, take a look at the official presentations in the fields of:

What are the expectations of Croatia?

During this 6-month period, Croatia will be primarily focused on Brexit, the future relationship between London and the EU and the large responsibility of proposing the agreement on a 7-year joint budget of the EU. Additionally, Croatia will manage all issues related to the European Green Agreement. It is a very ambitious plan defining the European transition to sustainable economic development, which was presented in early December by the European Commission.

Europe is aware that the Croatian presidency is the biggest challenge to the country in its modern history. Politicians and media describe it as the biggest test of maturity since Croatian independence.

Croatia has the opportunity to present itself in a positive manner on the European stage but everything depends on the skills of Croatian politicians. The presidency will be an especially challenging one because of Brexit. Croatia has presented a thorough plan for the term, so they are off to a good start. We hope that politicians will take full advantage of this opportunity to strengthen Croatia’s position and its relationships with other EU countries.

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