German EU Presidency
The Presidency of the Council of the EU is shared among the national governments of the Member States, transferring from one Member State to another every six months, on 1 January and 1 July each year. The office of the Presidency comes with significant responsibility: the host Member State chairs meetings of the Council of the EU, one of the EU’s major decision-making bodies, during its term. In addition, the Presidency is responsible for ensuring that Member States work in harmony, negotiating compromises when necessary, and at all times acting in the interest of the EU as a whole.
The Presidency’s programme of work is shared by three Member States (the ‘Presidency trio’) over an 18-month period. The Presidency sets out detailed goals that it wants to achieve during its period of office and, with the other Presidency trio members, longer-term objectives that could not realistically be achieved in only six months.
On 1 July 2020, Germany takes up the Presidency of the Council of the EU. Germany is the first of a new trio, cooperating closely with Portugal and Slovenia, which will hold the Presidency in turn in 2021.
The German Presidency’s top priorities include, of course, helping Europe to fight the coronavirus pandemic and to recover economically from its consequences. However, climate change and digital transformation remain firmly on the agenda.
Other issues include:
- policies on industry and small and medium-sized enterprises;
- increased protections for low-income and seasonal workers;
- promoting socially fair changes to Europe’s economy, society and labour market;
- and leading on the Roadmap on Carcinogens, an action scheme to raise awareness and exchange best practices to prevent or reduce carcinogenic substances in the workplace.
In addition to cooperating with its partners in the trio, the Germany Presidency works closely with the European Commission. The Commission’s priorities are set out in its adjusted work programme for 2020 and its coronavirus recovery plan.