Published on January 4th, 2019

From 1st of January on Romania took over the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU from Austria, who chaired meetings at every level in the Council, helping to ensure the continuity of the EU’s work in the Council for the last 6 months.

Member states holding the presidency work together closely in groups of three, called ‘trios’. The new trio starting now includes next to Romania the presidencies of the EU member countries Finland and Croatia. Together, they set long-term goals and prepare a common agenda determining the topics and major issues that will be addressed by the Council over an 18 month period. On the basis of this programme, each of the three countries prepares its own more detailed 6-month programme.

Let’s have a look at what the new trio’s plans for the next 18 months are.

A union for jobs, growth and competitiveness
The trio of Romania, Finland and Croatia wants to reform the EU single market on order to strengthen growth and competitiveness toward non-EU countries all across the globe. They also want to focus on Small and medium sized enterprises in new legislations and further decrease unemployment, with a focus on the development of young people in the job market. Also on the list is fostering innovation and research and a modernization of the Common Agricultural Policy as well as the economic and monetary union.

A union that empowers and protects all citizens
The three presidencies will take work forward the implementation of policies aimed at strengthening social dimension, tackling skills mismatch, and promoting the level of social protection of citizens. A special focus lays on education of young people, providing them with the skills they will need in the future and promoting the development of youth work. Further points are equal opportunities, social inclusion and public health.

Towards an energy union with a forward-looking climate policy
The EU should strengthen its role as global leader in combatting climate change by achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement, for example by defining the EU’s long-term low carbon strategy and promoting clean energy. Also, the implementation of an Energy Union framework should be negotiated with the EU membership countries.

A union of freedom, security and justice
The three presidencies want to create a comprehensive approach to migration which combines more effective control of the EU’s external borders, increased external action and the internal aspects, in line with the EU’s principles and values. In terms of fostering EU internal security, the three Presidencies remain committed to enhancing police and judicial cooperation, combatting organized crime, including drug trafficking and human trafficking, reinforcing the fight against terrorism.

The union as a strong global actor
Taking forward the agreed priorities of the EU Global Strategy, ensuring the consistency of the EU’s external policies, and reinforcing proper linkages between the internal and external policies of the Union are further points of the programme. The priority areas include the EU enlargement, furthering political, economic, social and cultural ties between the Union and its neighbouring counties to the East and South and strengthening the transatlantic partnership.

As Romania entered the EU in 2007, it is the first presidency of the south-east European country. If you are interested in their programme, you can look it up from the 15th of January on the website of the Romanian presidency.