Presidency of the Czech Republic in the Council of the EU

The presidency is one of the most important 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 presiding over the Council of the EU. This is most definitely not a formal affair, but one of the most important tools a Member State has to influence the shape and operation of the EU. The term of the presidency lasts six months, and Member States carry it out on the basis of the principle of equality and rotation. The order the countries alternate the presidency was set by the Council for General Affairs and External Relations at its meeting on 13 December 2004. The order was specified until 2020, and when it was set, care was taken to have countries alternate according to size and geographic position.

  • The Czech Republic presided over the European Union in the first half of 2009 (www.eu2009.cz).

Changes According to the Lisbon Treaty
After the Lisbon Treaty took effect on 1 December 2009, the institution of the presidency of the Council of the EU took on a new form. Among the greatest innovations are two new high EU positions - the permanent president of the European Council, which takes over the functions of organising the work of the European Council and representation of the EU to the rest of the world from the presiding state, and the high representative for foreign affairs and security policy.

With the exception of the Council on Foreign Affairs, the presidency of individual components of the Council of the EU will continue to be ensured by representatives of EU Member States on the basis of a rotation system established by a decision by the European Council. With these changes, the EU is trying to achieve greater coherence and continuity for the activities of the Council of the EU.

Member States, in Statement No. 9 (Statement on Chapter 16, paragraph 9 of the Treaty on the European Union on decisions of the European Council relating to the execution of the presidency of the Council), connected with the Lisbon Treaty, declares that it stands behind keeping the groups of three presiding states for a period of 18 months. The states within this trio of presidencies decide themselves whether they will alternate their function as the chair of the Council of the EU after six months, or whether they will divide up positions in individual formations of the Council equally for the entire 18-month period.

Order of Presiding Countries (2007-2011):

Germany, first half of 2007 
Portugal, second half of 2007 
Slovenia, first half of 2008 
France, second half of 2008 
Czech Republic, first half of 2009
Sweden, second half of 2009
Trio Spain-Belgium-Hungary 2010 - 2011

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