On 1 July 2023, Spain took over the Presidency of the EU Council for the fifth time. At a time of great challenges for both the Member States and the Union, the Presidency has set four priorities for the second half of the year: reindustrialising the EU and ensuring its strategic autonomy, advancing the green transition, promoting greater economic and social justice, and strengthening European unity. In addition, Spain held legislative elections at the end of July, which could still lead to a change in the governing coalition.

The Presidency of the EU Council is assumed on a rotating basis by each Member State for six months. During this period, the Member State holding the Presidency is responsible for chairing meetings at all levels of the Council’s work and for ensuring the continuity of the EU’s work by acting as a loyal and neutral mentor. Member States holding the Presidency work together closely in groups of three, called ‘trios’. This system was introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009.

The main tasks of the rotating Presidency are planning and chairing Council meetings and meetings of its preparatory bodies and representing the Council in relations with the other EU institutions.

The Spanish Presidency, scheduled for the second half of 2023 (1 July to 31 December 2023), kicks off a new trio, to be followed by Belgium (1 January to 30 June 2024) and Hungary (1 July to 31 December 2024).

Priorities of the Spanish Presidency

  • Reindustrialising the EU and ensuring its open strategic autonomy: The Presidency wants to reduce the Union’s vulnerabilities in strategic sectors and at the same time deepen technological and digital development. Particular attention is given to the EU’s partnership with Latin America.

  • Advancing the green transition and environmental adaptation: The aim is to combat climate change by completing the adoption of legislation for the Union’s green transition, and also to conclude the reform of the electricity market.

  • Promoting greater economic and social justice: Spain wants to guarantee the rights of workers and the most disadvantaged. Furthermore, it wants to promote fiscal justice through a minimum standard of taxation in the EU. Further goals are the improvement of territorial cohesion and the completion of the European Health Union.

  • Strengthening European unity: The aim is to maintain support for Ukraine and continue the accession process for candidate states. Expanding the use of qualified majority voting and completing the reform of the migration and asylum pact have been proposed.

More information on the Spanish EU Council Presidency is available here: https://spanish-presidency.consilium.europa.eu/en/.