The Council of the European Union is one of the three main decision-making institutions of the European Union. It shares the legislative role in the EU with the European Parliament, negotiating and adopting laws, as well as coordinating the policies of the EU.  

Depending on policy areas, the Council convenes in 10 different configurations, where the ministers of respective fields from all member states meet.  

As of July 2017, Estonia will hold its first presidency of the Council of the European Union. This means that Estonia will be responsible for defining the Council’s positions while considering the interests of all member states and remaining neutral at the same time. During its Presidency, Estonia will be responsible for organising and chairing meetings and working groups on all levels. It is the Presidency’s task to represent the Council and defend the agreements reached in negotiations with the European Commission and the Parliament. Therefore, the member state holding the presidency has a great opportunity during this 6-month period to steer discussions in the EU.

The presidency of the Council rotates among EU member states every 6 months. Three consecutive presidencies agree among themselves which fields they wish to highlight on the European level. This ensures that important topics remain in focus over the course of 18 months. Each presidency composes an individual programme based on the priorities of the trio. Estonia belongs to what is called a Presidency Trio with Bulgaria and Austria. 

The Estonian Presidency aims to be knowledgeableefficientopen and transparent, giving a special focus to digital solutions, an innovative economy, security, and preserving a clean environment.

For this, the EU needs to act as a team. Only then can we come together, successfully tackle all the challenges, and make the most of all the possibilities. There is so much more that unites us than divides us. For that we need to find balance, between the traditions and new ways of living and working, balance between what keeps us safe and what creates new opportunities. Finding this balance ensures that we also find the best way to go forward together and deliver tangible solutions for our citizens.

Read more about the priorities of the Estonian Presidency.