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Dutch to take over presidency of the EU

UK still in the dark about eu referendum date

The Netherlands will host a ministerial conference and other high level meetings during the Dutch presidency of the European Council starting in January 2016. As the Dutch set the agenda for the first half of next year, they undertake to make the EU ‘simpler and more workable’.

Alyn Smith, SNP Member of the European Parliament welcomed the Dutch strategic priorities for the European Union and reminded the UK Government of their turn to lead the Union the following year.

Alyn said:

“The Dutch will have their work cut out for them with the ambitious plan for the first half of 2016; focusing on better regulation, innovative growth and connections. The Dutch programme also includes a reduction of administrative burden for EU businesses, citizens and for Member States’ governments, a welcome announcement for many.

“The presidency of the EU Council is a valuable prospect, it gives Members States opportunity to draw attention to matters that are important to them, particularly during planned formal and informal meetings with ministers and heads of states. This is a smart, diplomatic way to push forward your country’s agenda and work with other Member States for EU reform.

“Paradoxically, the UK is set to take the lead in the second half of 2017. UK ministers are due to chair meetings and take responsibility for forging agreements among the Member States, as well as setting a British agenda during the period at the helm, but no one in Europe is going to take this presidency seriously if it is going to coincide with the EU referendum.

“Rushing to win the election, David Cameron has missed a trick that is soon coming back to hunt him. Without a date for the EU referendum the Foreign Office in unable to plan the agenda, something other countries prepare months and years in advance. David Cameron and his government have every chance that they will find themselves trying to lead and leave the EU at the same time, guaranteeing chaos of epic proportions even for EU standards.”

The Netherlands have an ambitious plan to tackle unemployment, maintain economic growth and competitiveness across the EU and continue working toward an Energy Union with forward – looking climate policy, before Slovakia takes over for the rest of the year.

The presidency is responsible for driving forward the Council's work on EU legislation, ensuring the continuity of the EU agenda, orderly legislative processes and cooperation among Member States. To do this, the presidency must act as an honest and neutral broker.

The presidency of the Council rotates among the EU member states every 6 months:

  • Netherlands: January-June 2016
  • Slovakia: July-December 2016
  • Malta: January-June 2017
  • United Kingdom: July-December 2017