An Analysis of the Goals, Focus, and Priorities of the Belgium Presidency

 An Analysis of the Goals, Focus, and Priorities of the Belgium Presidency
22 December 2023

From January 1st to June 30th, 2024, Belgium will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (the Council). With the presidency just around the corner, B2EU has decided to conduct an analysis of what the focus of the Belgium Presidency will be and how it could affect the EU.

The main responsibilities of the President of the Council are to responsibly steer and take responsibility for the “Council's work on EU legislation, ensuring the continuity of the EU agenda, orderly legislative processes and cooperation among member states”. Additionally, it is crucial that the president be neutral so as to serve as an honest broker for any negotiations that occur. This is especially important as the president must represent the Council in its dealings with other EU institutions, while also planning and chairing meetings in the Council and its preparatory bodies. Finally, the presidency of the Council is assigned in trios, which is designed to ensure a common agenda and the setting of long-term goals, which means that the Belgium Presidency will continue parts of the agenda set by the previous Spanish presidency (mainly in continuing the green and just transition).

The focus of the Belgium presidency has already been laid out as far back as May 23, 2023, however, it is still subject to change. Currently, the Belgium Presidency aims to strengthen the European Union while also aiming to promote cooperation within the EU to make progress on social cohesion, economic growth, and climate change. This focus is in part a continuation of the Spanish Presidency’s focus on advancing the green transition and promoting social and economic justice. However, the Belgian Presidency is also focused on preparing for several important summits and conferences that will take place during their term, which will potentially shape the future of the European Union.

Outside of this focus, the Belgium Presidency has laid out six priorities which it aims to prioritize during its Presidency. The first priority is defending the rule of law, democracy, and unity, which will focus on promoting fundamental rights, the rule of law, democratic values, youth participation, and the enlargement of the European Union. The second priority is strengthening our competitiveness which aims to strengthen the EU by prioritizing a long-term competitiveness and industrial policy, while also encouraging SMEs and completing the capital markets union and the energy union. The third priority is pursuing a green and just transition which will focus on continuing the efforts of the Spanish Presidency to continue to drive forward the EU’s ambitious transition agenda of tackling the triple crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. The fourth priority is reinforcing our social and health agenda which aims to promote social mobility, evaluate the EU’s crisis preparedness, and to secure the supply of medicine. The fifth priority is protecting people and borders which aims to finalize the remaining legislation which impacts upon migration and asylum. Finally, the sixth priority, promoting a global Europe, aims to increase the EU’s autonomy and resilience while also defending the EU’s interests and values.

However, these priorities and focus of the Belgium Presidency should be seen as guidelines that are still being developed that can and will respond to crises. For example, recently the Belgium Presidency has announced the research focus for its term which will focus the EU’s research efforts on reinforcing the EU’s strategic goals in health, digitalization, and the green transition. Yet this was not the sole announcement from Belgium, as it was also announced that there would be a push to expand the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) initiative, which could see an EU-wide digital infrastructure that could “store records such as driving licenses and property titles on a common blockchain controlled by the bloc’s governments”.

It is thus clear that while the priorities, focus, and goals of the Belgium Presidency have been set, the specific details are still being worked on. However, B2EU will continue to monitor the upcoming Belgium Presidency for any developments and update our readers about any developments as they may arise.


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