EU Country Focus SLOVAKIA: July- December 2016 PRESIDENCY OF THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

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Slovakia took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union on 1st July after 12 years of membership in the EU. The accession of Slovakia to the EU has provided the country with an important political and economic boost. Today it is at the very core of European integration and actively shaping EU policies.

The three biggest challenges for the Presidency are migration, terrorism and the aftermath of the UK referendum. The overriding ambition is to be a pragmatic and honest broker among the EU member states and EU institutions.

The consequences of the UK referendum will dominate the EU agenda in the coming months. EU will be facing difficult negotiations with the UK based on the existing legal framework.

Four Priorities 

  • Economically strong Europe: We will focus on initiatives that help create an appropriate environment for investment and for the further development of the Union. A favourable environment is a crucial prerequisite for the development and implementation of unifying European projects, which are fundamental elements of the modern single market.
  • Modern single market: The single market is considered the greatest achievement of the European Union. The vision of the Slovak Presidency is therefore to further develop unifying projects, such as the energy union or the digital single market.
  • Sustainable migration and asylum policies: The current migration crisis is putting enormous pressure on the EU’s external borders and on the asylum systems of the Member States.The Slovak Presidency therefore seeks to encourage the Union to develop more sustainable migration and asylum policies.
  • Globally engaged Europe: We aim to strengthen the Union’s position in the world.

Three Principles

The priority themes which will be at the forefront of the Slovak Presidency are driven by three interconnected principles:

  • Achieving tangible results – our aim is to demonstrate to EU citizens that joint European projects have a practical impact on improving their quality of life;
  • Overcoming fragmentation – we will seek to achieve results which help connect Member States more closely within the single market;
  • Focusing on the citizen – the ability to deliver specific results and overcome fragmentation is the key to bringing the Union closer to its citizens. The Slovak Presidency aims to restore citizens’ confidence in the common European project.

What does Slovakia want to achieve during its EU Presidency?

The work programme established by the presidency trio attaches the greatest importance to economic issues related to kick-starting economic growth. That said, it also responds to the current and unprecedented challenges to security that stem from the migrant crisis. At the same time, the programme seeks to put forward policies in the areas of job creation, competitiveness, the Digital Single Market and the Energy Union. The programme rests on five pillars that the Council needs to address during the 18 months.

1. Jobs, Growth, Competitiveness
2. A Union that Protects All Citizens
3. An Energy Union 
with a Forward-looking Climate Policy
4. Freedom, Security and Justice
5. The Union as a Strong Global Actor


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