Press Releases The Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU concludes with significant achievements

The Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU concludes with significant achievements

The Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union has successfully concluded its six-month term, marking substantial progress across multiple fronts. With a focus on protecting EU citizens, strengthening Europe’s competitiveness, and preparing the EU for future challenges, Belgium has demonstrated its commitment to driving forward an ambitious legislative agenda while effectively responding to ongoing crises and preparing the debate on Europe’s future.

“The objective of our Presidency was to deliver on an ambitious agenda for Europe – to protect our people, strengthen our economy and prepare Europe’s future while upholding our values. We drove forward the legislative work, dealt with crises on and at the shores of our continent and supported work on preparing Europe’s future. The Belgian Presidency brought competitiveness back to the heart of our discussions, laying the ground for a European Competitiveness Deal to be presented by the end of 2024. These results are a testament of the Belgian spirit to build compromises and get people to work together. It was a privilege for Belgium to take this role for the 13th time in our Union’s history. This was truly a dealmaking presidency,” said Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

As Minister for European Affairs, I am extremely proud of the results of our Belgian Presidency. We have both managed to secure as many agreements as possible – more than 70 – before the end of the legislature, and laid the foundations for the strategy that the Union will have to deploy in order to face up to future challenges, strengthen itself and grow even further. Expectations were high, and we rose to the occasion thanks to the efforts of all those who make Belgian diplomacy such an internationally recognised field of expertise, in particular thanks to the Belgian art of compromise, which once again worked miracles. The Belgian Presidency has highlighted Belgium’s commitment to fostering unity, promoting sustainable policies and improving our collective response to global problems. We have placed the general interest above national interests, which is the best way to move the Union forward. It is with the satisfaction of a job well done that we pass on the torch to Hungary, to whom I wish an equally successful Presidency,” said Hadja Lahbib, Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Affairs, and Foreign Trade.

The Presidency concluded 74 legislative files in trilogue and advanced on about 60 more legislative files in the Council, demonstrating Belgium’s ‘culture of compromise’. The Presidency worked in a spirit of close consultation and cooperation with the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Member States and the Spanish and Hungarian Presidencies. This legislative work was oriented around six priorities:


  1. Defending rule of law, democracy, and unity

The Belgian Presidency championed fundamental democratic principles, organising dialogues on rule of law and facilitating progress in judicial reforms. The Presidency also took forward the EU’s enlargement process as a beacon for stability and prosperity on the European continent by obtaining Council approval of the Negotiating Frameworks for Ukraine and Moldova, and organising Intergovernmental Conferences with Ukraine, Moldova and Montenegro. It finalised the adoption of the European Media Freedom Act and the Anti-SLAPP Directive, reinforcing press freedom and protection against abusive lawsuits. A comprehensive citizens’ participation programme was implemented, including a first-ever Presidency citizens’ panel on artificial intelligence, aimed at enhancing citizen engagement and forging trust in the EU.


  1. Strengthening our competitiveness

The Presidency worked to boost the Union’s competitiveness drivers, secure its economic resilience and achieve the full potential of the Single Market. Significant strides were made in enhancing the EU’s economic resilience and competitiveness. The Presidency reached agreements on the review of economic governance and the Multi-annual Financial Framework 2021-2027. It also pushed forward the completion of the Capital Markets Union and finalised the adoption of the Net-Zero Industry Act. The Belgian Presidency identified necessary EU measures to achieve a resilient, sustainable and interconnected European electricity network and presented a Presidency report on work towards a new European Competitiveness Deal.


  1. Pursuing a green and just transition

The Belgian Presidency took a holistic approach to drive the green and just transition. Notable achievements include agreements on stricter air quality standards, ensuring recyclable packaging by 2030, and facilitating high-quality carbon removal activities. Progress was also made on sustainable transport policies and international environmental efforts.


  1. Reinforcing our social and health agenda

Significant steps were taken to strengthen social dialogue and promote the social economy. The Presidency signed the Tripartite Declaration for a Thriving European Social Dialogue and facilitated the adoption of the Liège Roadmap for Social Economy in the EU. On health, the Belgian Presidency achieved a political agreement on the regulation for an European Health Data Space, finalised the work on standards of quality and safety for substances of human origin and adapted the regulation on in vitro diagnostic medical devices. It also achieved approval of Council conclusions on the Future of the European Health Union.


  1. Protecting people and borders

The Presidency enabled the finalisation and adoption of the Pact on Asylum and Migration, aiming to make the Common European Asylum System more effective and fair. It also brokered deals to combat various forms of crime and violence, including human trafficking, money laundering and drug crimes.


  1. Promoting a global Europe

At the Presidency’s initiative, European defence and preparedness were enhanced, and the EU’s open strategic autonomy in trade matters was bolstered. The Presidency advanced on all three pillars of the Economic Security Strategy. Regarding mutually beneficial and principled international partnerships, the Belgian Presidency focused on human development and health, especially in fragile and non-mediatised contexts, and acted to fulfil the EU’s humanitarian commitments. To enhance African health sovereignty through the Global Gateway Strategy, the Presidency organised an EU-AU high-level meeting in Brussels as well as a mission to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. Finally, relations with the Neighbourhood, African and ASEAN countries as well as the Indo-Pacific were highlighted within the EU’s strategic foreign policy.


Responding to global crises

The Belgian Presidency demonstrated its ability to respond swiftly to ongoing challenges in the world. These included responding to Russia’s full-scale war in Ukraine, reaffirming and acting on the EU’s commitment to peace in the Middle East, protecting electoral processes from undue interference, and addressing the urgent concerns of European farmers.


Preparing Europe’s Future

The Presidency prepared a Progress Report on the Future of Europe, focusing on EU values, policies, budget, and governance. It also championed substantial debates on improving the overall functioning of EU institutions.

The Belgian Presidency’s achievements underscore the EU’s capacity to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining its core values and objectives. As the torch passes to the next Presidency, the groundwork laid by Belgium will continue to shape the EU’s trajectory in the coming months and years.

More detailed information on the Belgian Presidency’s achievements can be found here


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