This will be Belgium's 13th turn at the helm of the Council of the European Union, Source: Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2024/ Facebook

What’s on the agenda for Belgium’s EU Council Presidency?

What’s on the agenda for Belgium’s EU Council Presidency?

This will be the 13th time the country will set the tone of the bloc’s policy vision for the next six months

On 1 January 2024, the Presidency of the Council of the European Union is coming home in a sense. Brussels will take over the baton of the rotating chairmanship and thus for the next six months it will enjoy a boost in its status as an EU capital even more so than it already has.

As you know, we Belgians have the European Union in our DNA. So many European institutions are based here in our capital. If there is one country which epitomises what the EU is all about, it is Belgium," boasted Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo at a press conference three weeks ago when he presented the goals that his country will seek to achieve during its term at the helm.

Belgium was also the first country to ever hold the rotating presidency of what was initially known as the European Community. The upcoming turn will be the 13th time that the country will set the tone of the policy agenda for the bloc, which has grown a lot larger since that first presidency back in 1958.

Six priority areas which the Belgian government sees as key

The Belgian authorities have identified six priority areas to work on until 30 June.

Defending the rule of law, democracy and unity will invariably and understandably continue to be major policy objectives. The Presidency promises to strengthen the empowerment and inclusion of citizens, with a special focus on youth participation, as well as work on the European education area, quality of education, lifelong learning, mobility and sport.

In the context of rapid technological progress and innovation on the world stage and the widening introduction of artificial intelligence in our daily lives, the Belgian Presidency will aim to enhance the role of research, development, and innovation to become a frontrunner in developing and commercialising tailored solutions that boost key EU value chains’ resilience and competitiveness.

Following the breakthrough agreements at COP28 and series of increasingly dry and arid years on the continent, climate change weighs on everyone’s minds. That’s why, the Belgian Presidency will push even further with the Green Deal objectives by striving to prop up the Union’s circular economy, adaptive and preparedness capacities, and sustainable water management.

As far as the social dimension is concerned, the Presidency will do its part to promote fair labour mobility, mental health at work as well as access to sustainable social protection. In addition, there will be work to strengthen the security of medicines supply, and develop a strategy to boost the EU’s health and care workforce, and access to affordable medicines. 

On the question of borders and migration, the Belgian Presidency will work to strengthen the external dimension of migration and asylum, especially by working closely with African countries, as part of a broader effort to continue to develop a mutually beneficial partnership between the two continents.

In the context of a flaring and disintegrating geopolitical situation, the Belgian Presidency plans to pursue efforts to strengthen resilience and autonomy and defend EU interests and values on the global stage.

On 1 July, it will be Hungary’s turn to take over the helm of the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union.



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