The presidency has warned that Nigeria, Africa’s largest producer of cereals and grains, risks famine from early next year following a huge demand in the global market targeting the country’s surplus production. The huge demand for Nigerian grains in the global market is creating an excellent environment for the mindless export of Nigerian food across the borders and unless this is curtailed, Nigerian markets will be bereft of grains by January next year. The Ministry of Agriculture advised the president to call the attention of all Nigerians to the issue which, if not addressed promptly, could lead to a shortage of grains in the country.
The Nederlands have strated their Presidency of the Council of EU. As you all may know, by 1st January the Presidency of the EU Council has changed. Luxembourg has given his witness to the Netherlands. As stated by the country of tulips and windmills, the Presidency will aim at an EU concentrated on the really important issues for citizens and businesses, being capable of delivering growth and jobs through innovation, and closely to civil society. The Presidency will promote initiatives at EU level only if considered more effective than the national policies.
Over the next six months, the Presidency will focus on four key areas:
migration and international security
public finances and stronger euro zone
Europe as an innovative and job creator entity
a forward-looking policy on climate and energy.
The Netherlands will play the role until June 30th, followed by Slovakia and Malta.
As mentioned, the Presidency of the Council shall alternate EU Member States every six months. During each semester, it chairs the meetings at all levels within the Council, helping to ensure continuity in the work of the EU in this institution.
Member States holding the Presidency cooperate closely in groups of three, and because of it are calle trio. This system was introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009. The Trio sets long-term goals and prepares a joint program, which will provide the main themes and issues that will be discussed by the Council for a period of 18 months. Under this program, each of the three countries prepare its own more detailed six-month program.
The current Trio Presidency, as mentioned, consists of the Dutch Presidency, followed by the Slovak and Maltese one and, for example, Slovakia is already sending its general understandings about …
Every Presidency has the duty to carry on the work of the Regulation for the Council of the European Union, ensuring the continuity of the EU, the proper conduct of the legislative processes and cooperation between Member States. For this purpose, the presidency must act as an honest and neutral broker.
The Presidency has also the burden of planning and conducting Council meetings and the meetings of its preparatory bodies, coordinating the the various Council configurations for each level (except for the “Foreign Affairs” Council), which include the permanent committees, such as the Committee of Permanent Representatives (better known as COREPER), and the groups and committees that deal with specific issues(such as the JHA Council).
All just be done ensuring the smooth running of the debates and the correct application of the rules of procedure and working methods of the Council, and spacing out meetings with formal and informal ones, that can be kept in Brussels and in the country holding the rotating presidency.
Another task of the presidency is to represent the Council in relations with other EU institutions, in particular with the Commission and the European Parliament. Its role is to work towards an agreement on legislative files through the so-called “trilogue”, namely informal negotiation meetings and meetings of the Conciliation Committee, where the three main EU institutions agree on the legal texts and agree compromises on the several instances represented .
The Presidency is working in close coordination with the President of the European and with the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy , a position currently held by Miss Mogherini.
In respect of that institution, the presidency is called to support its work and to carry out certain duties on behalf of the High Representative, as representing the “Foreign Affairs” Council in the European Parliament or the “Foreign Affairs” Council when this last discusses trade policy issues.
The Dutch presidency is obviously beginning to take its first steps since these days. So much clicked are its reference websites.
Among all the initiatives disclosed, in addition to the publication of the calendar of the semester, the first cultural program stands out: the opening of a visitors center in Amsterdam. Just on January 4th, in fact, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bert Koenders has officially opened “The wall of life” in Amsterdam. This interactive art installation, located near the building that will be dedicated to EU events, is a place where citizens and artists can exchange ideas on Europe in a free and creativeway, in order to better involve citizens and public about the work of Europe and, more specifically, the Dutch Presidency in the various policy areas.
We will follow the work of the presidency step by step, specially as part of our area of interests, with the hope to see resolved as soon as possible the problems relating to internal security and migration.