A Europe that protects: Priorities of the Austrian Presidency

This past 6th of July, INCIPE hosted a Working Breakfast under the title A Europe that protects: the priorities of the Austrian Presidency per the European Union Council with the participation of Christian Ebner, Excmo. the Austrian ambassador in Spain.

In July 1st, Austria took over the Presidency of the EU Council for the second semester of 2018. This will be the third time that Austria holds the Presidency of the EU Council, previously having done so in 1998 and 2006, after they joined the EU in 1995. To guarantee the job continuity during the rotating Presidency of the EU Council, a compromise called the ¨Presidency trio¨ has been implanted and the main objective behind that is to adopt a common program that will determine the priorities and objectives during the next 18 month period that will take place during the next three presidencies. The current trio is composed of the Austrian presidency and their predecessors, Estonia (second half of 2017) and Bulgaria (first half of 2018), their joint program centers around the following areas:

A Union for the employment, the growth and the competitiveness
A Union that protects all of its citizens
Towards an energetic Union with a prospective political climate
A Union of liberty, security and justice
European Union as a strong, global actor

Within those lines, the Austrian Presidency semester program will incorporate the following topics into their agenda: asylum and migration issues, exterior frontier protection, fight against radicalization, terrorism and organized crime, cyber security and the protection of European values.

The One Europe that protects Presidency´s motto is a clear example that Austria´s focus will be based off the improvement of the principle of subsidiarity, whose objective is that the EU centers the big problems that require a joint solution and take a step back when the issues are smaller in which the individual members or the regions are in a better position to take an individual decision. This focus has as a goal to take the European Union´s motto, Together in diversity, more seriously. For such purpose, the Austrian Presidency will give priority to the protective role of the European Union, in particular to three areas of priority: security and the fight against illegal migration, ensure prosperity and competitiveness through digitalization and stability in the European neighborhood, mainly in the Western Balkans/ Southeastern Europe.

The next Presidential trio, system implemented by the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, will be composed of Romania (first semester of 2019), Finland (second semester of 2019) and Croatia (first semester of 2020).

Aranzazu Álvarez

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