In the first half of 2012, Denmark will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. It is the seventh time Denmark holds the EU Presidency since joining the European Community in 1973.
The Presidency rotates between all EU member states and in the first six months of 2012, Denmark will organize and lead the work of the Council of Ministers. The Presidency will be a major task for the Danish government and for Denmark in general.
Since Denmark last held the Presidency the Lisbon Treaty has come into force and the institutional landscape in the EU has changed.
Firstly, the Treaty has established new institutional actors, namely the permanent President of the European Council (Herman Van Rompuy from Belgium) and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (Catherine Ashton from the UK). While Van Rompuy leads the work in the European Council and Ashton organizes the work of EU foreign policy in the Foreign Affairs Council, Denmark will be in charge of all other policy areas and will work closely with Van Rompuy and Ashton.
Secondly, Denmark is now a part of the so-called trio presidency where three presidencies work together to ensure a higher degree of coordination and consistency. Denmark joins a trio with Poland (who has the Presidency before Denmark) and Cyprus (who has the Presidency after Denmark). The three member states will agree on a common trio program for the 18 month period from 1st of July 2011 to 31st of December 2012. The trio program does not replace the national programs. Each Presidency will still set its own priorities for the six months it holds the presidency. Hence the trio-programme should rather be seen as an overarching common framework for work of the three Presidencies.
Thirdly, the Lisbon Treaty has given the European Parliament a more influential role as co-legislator on almost all new legislation. This means that cooperation with the Parliament and other institutions will be an important task during the Danish Presidency in 2012 .
For more information about the Presidency, EU and Denmark, and the Presidency website, click here.
To view the presentation of major themes during the Danish EU Presidency, click here.