On 1 January 2019, Romania took over the
Presidency of the European Union. Together with the subsequent Presidencies of
Finland and Croatia, a new ‘Trio’ Presidency will steer the Council from 1
January 2019 to 30 June 2020.
In a joint programme,
the Trio has presented the Council’s long-term objectives and priority areas
for the coming eighteen months. On the basis of this programme, each of the
three Member States is drafting its own detailed programme for its six-month
presidency of the Council.
Priorities of the Romanian Presidency
Under the Motto of ‘Cohesion, a common
European value’, reflecting unity, equality and convergence, Romania intends to
focus on the following priorities during its Presidency:
- A Europe of convergence: growth, cohesion, competitiveness and
- A safer Europe;
- Europe as a stronger global player;
- A Europe of common values.
As part of a "Europe of
convergence", the Romanian Presidency intends to advance the negotiations
on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and to strengthen the social
dimension of the Union by enforcing the European Pillar of Social Rights. It
also wants to boost economic and financial activities to stimulate growth and
investment, deepen the Economic and Monetary Union and support structural
reforms. Research and innovation, digitalisation and networking will also be
promoted to increase the competitiveness of the European economy and industry.
However, the first priority will be to
complete the outstanding dossiers. In the field of social policy, the
interinstitutional negotiations on amending Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 on the
coordination of social security systems and the proposal for a Regulation
establishing a European Labour Authority are two important initiatives on the
current Commission’s agenda. Brexit in March and the European elections in May
will also be important themes for the Romanian, Finish and Croatian Presidencies.
The Council’s 18-month programme
In addition to completing existing procedures,
the three Presidencies, with the newly-elected European Parliament and newly
appointed Commission, want to steer the work of the Council towards the
priorities of the new strategic agenda. This will take into consideration the outcomes
from the informal summit in Sibiu, which will take place on 9 May 2019 and will
deal with the future of the Union of 27 following the United Kingdom’s exit.
The Trio places special importance on
strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion, as well as underlying
values and common objectives. Under the heading "A Union that empowers and
protects all its citizens", the Trio, and others, want to drive forward
implementation of policies aimed at strengthening the social dimension of the
Union and promoting the level of social protection of citizens.
Further efforts are needed in the area of
public health to ensure access to healthcare for all citizens, to ensure
patient safety and mobility, and to make the most of opportunities offered by
new medical technologies. A step in this direction will be the pending formal
decision on the Council Recommendation on access to social protection for workers
and the self-employed, expected to be made in the middle of this year (see article 12/2018).