The Presidency of the Slovak Republic in the Council of the European Union
For the first time of its accession to the European Union, the Slovak Republic will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of year 2016 which represents absolutely profound and significant landmark from the historical point of view. Slovakia will be holding Presidency of the Council of the European Union together in „trio“ with the Netherlands and Malta. The main task of the Presidency is to conduct negotiations on European legislation or current political issues. Finding compromises among Member States and their representation in relation to other European institutions will represent the common challenge.
The process of preparation and provision of the Presidency is organized and technically and administrativelly coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic (hereinafter as „MFEA SR“). For more information on SK PRES please find MFEA SR web page:
Rotating PresidencyThe Presidency of the Council of the European Union rotates among the EU Member States every six months. Within this 6-month period, the presiding country chairs meetings at every level of the EU Council, helping to ensure continuity of the EU´s work in the Council.
Member States holding Presidency work together closely in groups of three called „trios“. This system was introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009. The trio sets long-term goals and prepares a common programme, determining the topics and major issues that will be addressed by the Council over an 18 month period. On the basis of this programme, each of the three countries prepare its own more detailed 6-month programme.
The current trio is made up of the presidencies of the Netherlands, Slovakia and Malta.
|Italy||July – December 2014|
|Latvia||January – June 2015|
|Luxembourg||July – December 2015|
|Netherlands||January – June 2016|
|Slovakia||July – December 2016|
|Malta||January – June 2017|
|Estonia||July – December 2017|
|Bulgaria||January – June 2018|
|Austria||July – December 2018|
Tasks of the Presidency
The Presidency has two main tasks:
1. Planning and chairing meetings in the Council and its preparatory bodies
The Presidency chairs meetings of the different Council configurations (with the exception of the Foreign Affairs Council) and the Council's
preparatory bodies which include permanent committees such as the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) and working parties and
committees dealing with very specific subjects. The Presidency ensures that the Council's rules of procedure and working methods are applied correctly
and discussions are conducted properly. It also organizes various formal and informal meetings in Brussels and in the country of the rotating Presidency.
2. Representing the Council in relations with other EU institutions
The Presidency represents the Council in relations with the other EU institutions, particularly with the European 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.
Council of the European UnionThe Council of the European Union together with the European Parliament is an essential EU decision-maker. It represents the EU member states´governments, adopts legislative acts and coordinates the EU policies. Its members are the ministers of each EU Member State, according to the discussed policy framework. The meetings are chaired by the minister of the Member State holding the Presidency. The Council of the European Union is a single legal entity, whereas its meetings are held in ten different Council configurations, depending on the negotiated topics.
- General Affairs
- Foreign Affairs
- Economic and Financial Affairs
- Justice and Home Affairs
- Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs
- Transport, Telecommunications and Energy
- Agriculture and Fisheries
- Education, Youth and Culture and Sport
Agriculture and Fisheries Council configuration (AGRIFISH)The Agriculture and Fisheries Council adopts legislation in a number of areas relating to the production of food, rural development and the management of fisheries, harmonization of rules regarding veterinarian issues, animal welfare, health of plants, feeds for animals. Meetings usually take place once a month.
Agenda of the Council is prepared by the Committee of Permanent Representatives (the French abbreviation „COREPER“ is used) formed by the permanent representatives of the Member States of the European Union in Brussels on the level of ambassadors (COREPER II) or their deputies (COREPER I), who generally meet at least once a week. This Committee rules the work of approximately 250 Committees and Working Parties, preparing background papers for issues negotiated by COREPER and the Council.
Performance of the Council of the EU is carried out in 3 levels where the Member States defend their national interests within the frame of:
- Working Parties
- Level of Ministers
Slovak Presidency in the Council of the EU (hereinafter as "SK PRES")The Presidency of the Council of the EU means to conduct negotiations, plan and set an agenda, and to submit compromised solutions necessary for reaching the agreement of the Member States.
During SK PRES in the frame of the State Veterinary and Food Administration of the Slovak Republic (hereinafter as „SVFA SR“) the veterinary experts of the SVFA SR should plan and conduct negotiations within these working parties:
- Working Party on Agricultural Questions – Feedingstuffs
- Working Party of Chief Veterinary Officers
- Working Party of Veterinary Experts: A, Animal Health B, Animal Welfare C, Potsdam Group
- Codex Alimentarius Working Party – During SK PRES the Slovak Republic as the presiding country in the Council of the EU
will be involved in preparatory works related to the Codex Alimentarius meetings where joint EU positions to the
Codex Alimentarius official meetings on an international level will be approved. In the SVFA SR competency the following meetings will be relevant:
- Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Food
- Codex Committee on Food Hygiene
- Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables
The SVFA SR main topics during the Presidency of the Slovak Republic in the Council of the European Union:
- Proposal for the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on veterinary medicinal products – the aim is to achieve progress with possible mandate for negotiations with European Parliament. The goal of SK PRES is to achieve the highest possible progress in relevant legislative act, depending on progress achieved by the Presidency of the Netherlands.
- Proposal for the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the manufacture, placing on the market and use of medicated feed, and repealing Council Directive No. 90/167/EEC (goes together with the Proposal for the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on veterinary medicinal products) – the aim of SK PRES is to achieve progress focused on gaining a mandate for trilogues with the European Parliament, depending on progress achieved by the Presidency of the Netherlands.
Other topics to be solved within SK PRES:
- Animal Cloning – discussion to the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the cloning of animals of the bovine, porcine, ovine, caprine and equine species kept and reproduced for farming purposes and Proposal for a Council Directive on the placing on the market of food from clones,
- Animal Health – evaluation of the current disease situation,
- General Food Law Regulation – discussion on the European Commission report on effectiveness of the Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety,
- Animal Welfare – discussion on the European Commission report on welfare in pigs, genetic selection in poultry,
- Food and Veterinary Office – audit reports of the Member States,
- Strategic discussions on the level of the Chief Veterinary Officers – antimicrobial resistance, relations with the 3rd countries to opening of new markets for export of commodities, food frauds, animal welfare, diseases derived from foodstuffs, General Food Law, official controlsy,
- in November 2016 the conference on "Food chain in the digital single market" aimed at increasing of health safety in food chain by means of applications and use of information technologies on the national and international levels will be held in Brussels. Improvement of use, availability and general public and consumers awareness in the area of animal health, animal welfare, health safety and quality of foodstuffs in European space and in the 3rd countries,
- The State Veterinary and Food Administration of the Slovak Republic is planning to organize an Informal Meeting of Chief Veterinary Officers of Member States in September 2016 in Piešťany.
On behalf of SVFA SR:
Coordinator of SK Presidency 2016: Eva Štovčiková, DVM. firstname.lastname@example.org
The official website of the Slovak Presidency in the Council of the European Union: http://www.eu2016.sk/en