New trio presidency begins as Spain takes over

With Spain assuming its fifth Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the new 18-month trio presidency has began. Alongside Spain, Belgium and Hungary is expected to take the presidency in the coming one-and-a-half year.
Marton Kottmayer,

Spain will hold the Presidency until the end of 2023, after which, from 1 January to 31 June 2024 Belgium will follow. The third country of the trio, from 1 July 2024 is scheduled to be Hungary, however some discontent was expressed by the European Parliament with regards to the country’s presidency.

The Strategic Agenda, prepared by the three countries, outlining the priorities of the trio, was published last month. According to this document, the presidencies’ key focus will be strengthening industry, parallel to international, multilateral cooperation and security, as well as ensuring that the twin (green and digital) transitions are fair and inclusive. The 18 month agenda however, is a general outline, rather than an in-depth roadmap. The detailed programme is produced by each country of the trio, in line with the overarching strategy above. While the Spanish elections will happen early on during the country’s presidency, on 23 July, but this is not expected to change priorities.

According to the released Spanish presidency programme, with regards to science-policy, priorities are said to centre around cooperation, such as the consolidation of the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA), and strengthening ties with countries of Latin-America and the Caribbean. Within the EU,R&I Infrastructures and Innovation Valleys are expected to be key topics. The Recovery and Resilience Facility is said to impact research policy as well. Education-wise, the review of the European Education Area, the strengthening of digital skills in education, and EU wise recognition of certifications and professional qualifications are on the table.

In addition, representatives of the Spanish Presidency will likely attend relevant Parliamentary Committee meetings (e.g ITRE and ENVI) in the coming weeks, to debrief and consult with MEPs about the presidency’s research, sustainability, innovation and education priorities.

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