Croatia Takes Over Rotating EU Presidency for the First Time
Not unlike Bulgaria and Romania before it, Croatia will seek to promote the further enlargement of the EU in the Western Balkans during its first ever Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Croatia, the latest country to join the European Union, has assumed on January 1, 2020, the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time.
The Balkan country joined the EU in back in 2013, in the Union’s Seventh Enlargement. Until now, it had been the only EU member to have never held the rotating Presidency of the European Union.
It is taking over the Presidency of the Council of the EU (formerly known as the Council of Ministers) from Finland, for a period of six months, until June 30, 2020.
The start of the Croatian Presidency of the European Union is to be marked with a formal ceremony at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb on January 9, to be followed by a concert in Brussels on January 15, which is the 28th anniversary of the international recognition of Croatia’s independence from the former Yugoslavia.
The motto of the Croatian EU Presidency is, “A Strong Europe in a World of Challenges,” and its program is built around four topics formulated, as follows, “A Europe that Develops; A Europe that Connects; A Europe that Protects; An Influential Europe.”
The first topic takes aim at promoting balanced economic growth across the EU, the second focuses on infrastructure connectivity as well as activities bringing together citizens from across the Union, the third refers to security, and the fourth will draw attention to continuing the EU’s enlargement policy towards the Western Balkans.
“An ambitious, balanced and sustainable EU Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2021 – 2027 is a prerequisite for achieving our goals,” a statement on the website of the Croatian EU Presidency said.
“The Croatian Presidency will advocate to reach a comprehensive agreement as quickly as possible to allow timely implementation of all Union policies and programmes, in the service of further building Europe as strong as possible in the world of challenges,” the statement added.
More than 1,400 meetings at various levels are to be held in Croatia as part of its first-ever EU Presidency in the first half of 2020.
Member states holding the EU Presidency work together in groups of three, with a common agenda for the Council over an 18-month period.
In addition to Croatia and Finland, the current troika also includes Romania, another Balkan EU country, which chaired the EU Council for the first time in the first half of 2019. Bulgaria, the other of the latest newcomers to the EU, which joined together with Romania in 2007, chaired the EU Council for the first time in 2018.
All three Balkan EU member states in question have considered the further enlargement of the EU in the Western Balkans are priority for their first ever Presidencies of the Council of the European Union.
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