In the second half of 2017 Estonia will hold the presidency of the Council of the European Union. This will be the first time for Estonia to perform this important role within the EU. The preparations for the presidency are centrally coordinated by the Government Office of Estonia and are well underway having started in 2012.
Holding the presidency of the Council of the EU means that Estonia will act as a neutral mediator and broker between the EU member states during the six-month period in meetings and negotiations, guiding the member states towards agreements and compromises on key issues. It will also act as a broker between the key EU institutions, such as the Council of the European Union, European Parliament and European Commission.
More than 200 meetings are expected to take place in Estonia during its presidency, bringing anything between 20,000-30,000 visitors and approximately 1,000 international journalists to the country during these months.
The presidency of the Council rotates among the EU member states every 6 months. Estonia will pick up the presidency baton from Malta on 1st July and hand it over to Bulgaria on 31st December.
The three consecutive Presidencies agree among themselves which fields to turn more attention to on the European level. This ensures that important topics remain in focus over the course of 18 months. Estonia is in one Presidency trio with Bulgaria and Austria (which picks up the presidency from Bulgaria in the latter part of 2018).
The next time Estonia is likely to hold the presidency of the Council of the EU again will be in 2031.
For more information, visit https://www.eesistumine.ee/en or follow @ELeesistumine and @EU2017EE on Twitter.