Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union

Every six months, one of the 27 member states of the European Union takes the seat as the president of the Council of the EU. From 1 January to 30 June 2024, it’s Belgium’s turn to coordinate the Council’s work on European policies.

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The Council of the
European Union

In the Council of the EU, relevant government ministers from each EU country meet to discuss, amend and adopt European laws and coordinate policies. That’s why it's also called the “Council of Ministers” (or simply the “Council”).

Together with the directly elected European Parliament, the Council of the EU, consisting of government representatives, is the main decision-making body of the EU.

The Council of the EU should not be confused with the “European Council” (the quarterly summits of EU leaders) or the “Council of Europe” (intergovernmental organisation on human rights etc., not related to the EU).

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Rotating presidency

To coordinate the work of the Council of the EU, member states rotate every six months to take on the presidency. The member states work in groups of three (called a “trio”) on a common general programme for 18 months. Belgium is part of a trio with Spain and Hungary.

The main tasks of the presidency of the Council of the EU are:

  • organising and leading Council meetings in 10 different Council configurations depending on the topic, e.g. education, youth, culture and sport,
  • preparing these Council meetings through more than 230 thematic working groups and even more formal/informal meetings,
  • representing the Council of the EU in dealings with the European Commission and the European Parliament to push policy forward.

The Belgian Presidency and youth

During the Belgian Presidency, the areas of work are divided between the communities/regions and the federal level, depending on the topic. But even where one community/region takes the lead, it liaises with the other communities/regions to agree on a shared Belgian approach.

The Flemish community leads on youth affairs and culture, for instance. The French Community coordinates work on education and sport.

Belgium has the responsibility of following up on the EU “rolling agenda” in the field of youth and the EU Youth Strategy. Our task in this area is to guarantee continuity in European youth policy processes, working with the Member States and EU institutions such as the European Commission.

The Belgian presidency will continue with the policy development already in progress:

Apart from these ongoing policy developments, Belgium will also focus on several specific points.

Our goals
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Our Green and Ethical framework

The choices we made and why we made them.

Green and Ethical framework
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