Every six months a different member state holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union. The presidency rotation takes place on 1st January and 1st July each year.
Each Presidency works closely with the two other member states: the one that preceded it and the one that will follow it. This partnership is known as the ‘trio Presidency’.
The trio determines long-term objectives and draws up a programme containing the major issues the Council will tackle over the next 18 months. To this end, each of the three member states draws up its own six-month programme. The main purpose of the trios lies in ensuring that there is a smoother transition between presidencies and that the continuity and effectiveness of the Council’s work is enhanced over the long term.
The current trio is made up of the presidencies of the Netherlands, Slovakia and Malta.
The presidency has two main tasks: (i) planning and chairing meetings in the Council and its preparatory bodies (with the exception of the Foreign Affairs Council) and (ii) representing the Council, mediating and brokering compromises between the EU member states and between EU institutions such as the Council, European Commission and European Parliament.
Due to the UK decision not to take up its scheduled Council presidency in the second half of 2017, the Council adopted a revised order of the presidencies which runs until 2030. The Council also decided to add Croatia, which was not yet a member state at the time of the original decision, for the period January-June 2020.