President Macron won’t be President of the European Union or President of Europe as of 1st January 2022 because such a title does not exist at European level.

President Macron won’t be either President of the Council of the European Union because the presidency is not an individual, but rather the position is held by a national government in this case that of France. It is therefore incorrect to refer to it as ‘president of the European Union’

The presidency of the Council rotates among the EU member states every six months. In order to ensure some continuity in terms of the programme, three member states work closely together in a system of “trios” in this case France, Czech Republic and Sweden; this system was introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009. Each Member State decides on its priorities before the start of its presidency and subsequently submits them to the Council and the European Parliament. The presiding Member States team up in a three-member group (trio). Based on the priorities of all three concerned Member States, the presidency trio prepares a joint programme that sets up the agenda of the EU Council during the 18-month period. The determination of the programme is not entirely arbitrary. Most of the Member States focus on issues that are currently being negotiated at the EU level.

The presidency is responsible for driving forward the Council's work on EU legislation, ensuring the continuity of the EU agenda, orderly legislative processes and cooperation among member states. To do this, the presidency must act as an honest and neutral broker.The presidency defines the agenda and priorities of the Council of the EU, especially the speed and intensity of negotiating individual legislative proposals. For this reason, it is considered as one of the most significant ways to enhance prestige, but also to promote interests of individual Member States. The presiding country is becoming the centre of decision-making on EU policy for half a year. EU presidency therefore represents an obligation associated with a great deal of authority and power.

The presidency has two main tasks:

1. Planning and chairing meetings in the Council and its preparatory bodies

The presiding country leads the meetings of the EU Council and of most of its working formations. The presidency also closely cooperates with the permanent President of the European Council and his/her team. Overall, the presidency is in charge of almost 195 EU Council working groups, including the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER).

The presidency ensures that discussions are conducted properly and that the Council's rules of procedure and working methods are correctly applied.

It also organises various formal and informal meetings in Brussels and in the country of the rotating presidency.

2. Representing the Council in relations with the other EU institutions

The presidency represents the Council in relations with the other EU institutions, particularly with the Commission and the European Parliament. Its role is to try and reach agreement on legislative files through trilogues, informal negotiation meetings and Conciliation Committee meetings.

The presidency works in close coordination with:

  • the President of the European Council
  • the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

It supports their work and may sometimes be requested to perform certain duties for the high representative, such as representing the Foreign Affairs Council before the European Parliament or chairing the Foreign Affairs Council when it discusses common commercial policy issues.

It can be estimated that roughly three hundred events take place during the presidency, with around 15 000 foreign delegates and visitors coming to the concerned state during the half-year period.

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