Zagreb, 1 January 2020 – Croatia has officially assumed the presidency of the Council of the European Union on 1 January 2020. Croatia takes over the presidency from Finland.
A formal ceremony at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb on 9 January will mark the start of the Croatian presidency. The new presidency will also be marked in Brussels with a concert taking place on 15 January, which is the 28th anniversary of Croatia’s international recognition.
On 8 January, the day before the EC meeting, around 60 correspondents from EU member-states from Brussels will arrive in Zagreb.
During the six-month period, Croatia will lead the work of the Council, building co-operation and agreement between Member States in a spirit of consensus and mutual respect. The presidency is seen as an opportunity to promote the country-in-chair and make local society more sensitive to EU-related topics.
“A strong Europe in a world of challenges” is the motto Croatia has chosen for its presidency. The programme of its EU presidency is based on four themes or pillars – A Europe that develops; A Europe that connects; A Europe that protects; and An influential Europe.
Over the 6-month presidency term, over 1,400 meetings will be held at various levels and in Croatia, a total of 161 events will take place around the country, Hina reported.
In its work, the Croatian Presidency will also take into account the strategic documents that will be agreed between the EU institutions and the work program of the new European Commission Work Programme.
“An ambitious, balanced and sustainable EU Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2021 – 2027 is a prerequisite for achieving our goals. The Croatian Presidency will advocate to reach a comprehensive agreement as quickly as possible to allow timely implementation of all Union policies and programmes, in the service of further building Europe as strong as possible in the world of challenges,” EU2020HR stated.
Extensive programme for Croatia’s EU presidency prepared
On 27 December, the Croatian government prepared a very detailed and extensive programme of its presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2020. The 50-odd-page document sets out Croatia’s national priorities and has been aligned with the EU’s new strategic programme for the period 2019-2024 and the guidelines of the new European Commission.
A strong Europe in a world of challenges
In the next six months Croatia will be chairing the Council of the EU, formerly called the Council of Ministers, which is one of the EU’s two legislative bodies, made up of ministers from member-countries’ governments.
The Council meets in different configurations, depending on which topic is discussed, such as the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, the Justice and Home Affairs Council, etc.
Apart from the above-mentioned four main priorities, the programme of Croatia’s presidency also contains priorities for all ten configurations of the Council of the EU.
A Europe that develops
With regard to the priority “A Europe that develops”, Croatia’s presidency will advocate a balanced, sustainable and inclusive growth of the EU that takes account of the specificities and needs of all member-countries, their regions and citizens, reads the programme.
A Europe that connects
As for the second priority, “A Europe that connects”, Croatia will encourage policies directed at promoting the EU’s infrastructure connectivity and at bringing its citizens closer, primarily through education, culture and sports.
A Europe that protects
With regard to the third priority, Croatia’s presidency will work to further build the EU as an area of freedom, security and justice based on shared values, democracy and the rule of law, including internal security, better protection of the external borders, achieving the full operability of information systems, strengthening resilience to external threats as well as to hybrid and cyber threats.
An influential Europe
Croatia’s presidency will advocate the continuation of a consistent, effective and credible enlargement policy, as an investment in the stability, security and further economic development and connectivity of the European continent, reads the part entitled “An influential Europe.”