The Council of the European Union has a 6-month period rotating presidency, a method introduced by the 2009 Lisbon Treaty by which Member States work closely with one another in groups of three, referred to as ‘trios’. Each Member States holds the presidency for 6 months ensuring that every country has a turn without elections being held. Such a method allows the continuity of the European Union’s work within the Council. France, the Czech Republic and Sweden currently make up the trio of Council presidencies.
As of the 1st of January 2023, Sweden took charge of the Council’s presidency for a term lasting until 30th June 2023. The Swedish presidency had identified its priorities with the Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson (14/12/2022) having stated,
“Our unity and readiness to act remain key to EU security, resilience and prosperity. Sweden is taking over the presidency at a time when the European Union is facing unprecedented challenges. A greener, more secure and freer Europe is the foundation of our priorities.”
The first priority, ‘Security- Unity’ refers to the fact the Swedish presidency will continue the EU’s efforts to offer both economic and military support for Ukraine. This was also include the presidency’s support for Ukraine’s path towards the bloc.
The second priority is that of ‘Competitiveness’ by which the Swedish presidency aims to place European competitiveness at the top of the political agenda, partially as a result of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and its consequences. Europe’s strength and global position depend on its economic outputs which are thus linked to not only the single market but also the global trade opportunities.
The third priority is that of ‘Green & Energy Transitions’. Through this priority, the Swedish presidency aims to tackle the surging energy prices as well as the long-term energy market reform. Moreover, with the world facing a climate emergency, a global response is needed with Europe aiming to take the leading position. Thus, the presidency aims to put the Fit for 55 package into action as well as aiming to speed up the energy transition by ensuring a resource-efficient and fossil-free future requiring drastic investments within various industries to turn notions and innovations into functional results.
The final priority is that of ‘Democratic values and the rule of law- our foundation’ by which the presidency aims to uphold the principles of both rule of law and fundamental rights. This is due to the fact that the European Union is based on principles of non-discrimination, democratic values, cohesion, individual freedoms, having a global influence and increasing the bloc’s economic output.
Once Sweden completes its term chairing the Council, the presidency passes onto the next trio made up of Spain between July and December of 2023, Belgium between January and June 2024 and finally Hungary having the presidency of the Council between July and December 2024 until eventually another trio begins.