The Treaties of the Community state that the Presidency is to be held successively by each Member-State in the Council, for a period of six months – article 203 of the EC Treaty -, in accordance with a pre-established rotation system by the Council itself, currently until July 2020.
Presently Portugal is responsible, for the third time, to carry out this task, after the Presidencies of 1992 and 2000, taking over from Germany on 1 July 2007 and handing it over to Slovenia on 01 January 2008.
The role of the Presidency may be defined as a responsibility that, on the one hand, has to do with procedures such as organising the works of the Council; on the other hand, it is of a political nature, such as carrying out successfully all matters that need to be solved, promoting, through a well planned orientation of the works, the adoption of balanced solutions within reasonable deadlines.
These responsibilities do not comprise real powers in substantial aspects. Its powers are acknowledged through texts and practice and they are related with procedures, namely to summon Councils, to establish a temporary order of the day, to sign minutes, to materially organise the works and define some matters related to proceedings.
Thus, the current President of the Council is chiefly a gatherer of consensus and a consolidator of those tendencies that, in each phase of the decision process, are created in the various Member-States.
The Presidency is aided by the delegate of the Member-State that will hold the following Presidency, who can, at its request and under its instructions, replace it whenever it may be necessary and thus free it, if that may be the case, from certain tasks (nº2, article 20 of the Rules of Procedure of the Council).
- Other responsibilities of the Presidency
- Interinstitutional cooperation between the Presidency and the European Parliament