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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 26.05.2018, 11:03

Maltese Presidency-2017 at the difficult time in the EU

Eugene Eteris, European Studies Faculty, RSU, BC International Editor, Copenhagen, 06.01.2017.Print version
From January to the end of June 2017, Malta assumes the rotating presidency of the Council of Ministers of the European Union, for the first time since its accession to the EU in 2004. It will take over the Presidency at a difficult period in European integration. In this situation, the Maltese Presidency will have to find consensus and achieve agreements in the Council and also with the European Parliament.

As the official declaration of Presidency said, by Dr. Ian Borg, Parliamentary Secretary for the EU rotating Presidency in 2017, the country will “play the role of an honest broker”, aiming to deal with the many internal and external challenges related to migration, the fight against terrorism, modernising the single market, etc.


At the same time the Presidency is to deliver on “the important package” related to the review of the EU’s multi-annual financial framework, as well as other challenges facing the EU, such as social inclusion, Europe's neighbourhood, the Mediterranean and the maritime issues.  


Quite specific is the time of starting the official Brexit ceremony expected in March: here the Maltese Presidency has to show courage and durability in negotiations.


It is known that the Commission has launched a process aiming to clarify how the Union should proceed in the years to come. Following the objectives laid down in the Bratislava Declaration, the Maltese Presidency will have to play a key role in offering citizens “a vision of an attractive EU they can trust and support”.

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Already at the end of last year, i.e. at a briefing by the Maltese Parliamentary Secretary, Dr. Ian Borg set out the priorities of the Maltese Presidency and addressed the key challenges ahead.


At the presentation, the Parliamentary Secretary was joined by the Malta’s Permanent Representative to the EU, Marlene Bonnici and Janis A. Emmanouilidis, EPC Director of Studies.  


“Trio-Presidency” is still at place


Twice a year, the College of Commissioners travels to the member state that holds the presidency of the Council, in order to discuss the EU's priorities of the next six-month period with the member state's government.


Malta will hold the presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time, as a part of the current presidency trio together with the Netherlands (January-June 2016) and Slovakia (July-December 2016). The next trio, as from July 2017, will be made up of the presidencies of Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria.


However, the official ceremony will take place on 11th of January in Malta, when all the Commissioners (so-called College) and leaders of the EU institutions, e.g. the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and country’s officials, e.g. Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat will be present. The Commission will also meet with members of the House of Representatives – the Maltese Parliament.

See more on the website of the Maltese presidency of the Council of the EU:  

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