Presidency of the Czech Republic in the Council of the EU

The presidency of the Council of the EU is one of the most important rights and demanding tasks resulting from EU membership. The role of the presiding country is not only organisational but also mediating, political and representational.

Individual Member States take turns in presiding over Council of the EU. This is most definitely not a formal affair, but one of the most important tools a Member State has in order to influence daily functioning, long-term goals and external visibility of the EU. The term of the presidency lasts six months, and the Member States carry it out on the basis of the principle of equality and rotation. The schedule of the presidencies is set long time in advance for all Member States, given that holding the EU presidency is one of the obligations for all EU members.

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 presiding country leads the meetings of the EU Council and of most of its working formations (except for those with a permanent presidency, especially in the domain of EU foreign affairs). It represents the EU Council at meetings with the European Parliament, the European Commission, external partners and within international organizations. 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).

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.

In addition, various events are organised on the territory of the Member State holding the presidency, primarily the EU summit, i.e. the informal meeting of the heads of state or government, as well as informal EU Council meetings and other lower-level events. It can be estimated that roughly three hundred events of this type take place during the presidency, with around 15 000 foreign delegates and visitors coming to the concerned state during the half-year period.

Czech presidencies

The Czech Republic held its first EU presidency in the first half of 2009. The next Czech presidency will take place in the second half of 2022. In this respect, the Czech government already launched its preparations on 10 July 2018.

The preparation and implementation of the Czech presidency of the EU Council is carried out by the Prime Minister through the Section for European Affairs of the Office of the Government and in close cooperation with all ministries, particularly with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the EU in Brussels. It equally involves other institutions both at national and European level. To coordinate the preparation and the conduct of the presidency, the Prime Minister relies on the Committee for the European Union.

The preparation of the second Czech presidency of the EU started in summer 2018 with the adoption of a government resolution setting up the key governance and coordinating principles and assigning initial tasks.

As a part of the preparations of the second Czech presidency, the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic has also registered the domain www.eu2022.cz. Current information on the Czech presidency preparations will be gradually published at this link.

Order of Presiding Countries (2019-2024):

  • Romania, first half of 2019
  • Finland, second half of 2019
  • Croatia, first half of 2020
  • Germany, second half of 2020
  • Portugal, first half of 2021
  • Slovenia, second half of 2021
  • France, first half of 2022
  • Czech Republic, second half of 2022
  • Sweden, first half of 2023
  • Trio Spain-Belgium-Hungary 2023 – 2024

Additional detailed information related to the presidency can be found at the following web addresses: