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During Spain’s second presidency of the Council of the European Union, it was decided that the
EU’s single currency would be called “euro”. By its third presidency, the euro
was in circulation in twelve countries, including Spain.



Source: Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, La Moncloa, Gobierno de España
(Text, stills and videos from unless stated otherwise)

From 1 July to 31 December 2023, Spain [is holding] the presidency of the Council of the EU for the fifth time in its history. It is thereby responsible for organising Council meetings and representing the Council vis-à-vis other EU institutions.

Video of Spain’s Council presidency inaugural event: 1-3 July 2023 visit to Madrid of the  President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the College of Commissaries of the European Union, with the Council of Ministers of the Government of Spain, headed up by the President of the Spanish Government Pedro Sanchez, hosting

The Presidency of the Council of the European Union

The presidency of the Council of the EU organises and leads Council meetings. During the six months of the presidency, more than a thousand meetings are held, ranging from those where the ministers responsible for each sector come together to those when technical experts in each of the subjects under discussion are called upon.

Logo of Spain’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2023

[Said] presidency also represents the Council before the other EU institutions, including the European Commission and the European Parliament. Together with these two bodies, the Council of the EU carries out so-called trilogues aimed at adopting legislative acts, including directives and regulations.

The EU may also be represented by the presidency of the Council of the EU in other international fora, although this responsibility is often shared with other figures such as the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the President of the European Council, and the President of the European Commission. . .

Spain’s presidencies during which awesome milestone were reached

This is the fifth time that Spain has held the presidency of the Council of the EU. The previous ones were in 1989, 1995, 2002 and 2010.

> The first Spanish presidency began on 1 January 1989, when the EU was made up of just twelve countries [Belgium, Denmark, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the UK]. One of [its] main achievements was the decision at the Madrid Summit to initiate the first phase of the creation of the Economic and Monetary Union, a fundamental step that would eventually lead to the establishment of a common currency [i.e., the euro] 12 years later.

Progress was also made on job security and the Common Agricultural Policy. . .  The idea of economic and social cohesion, essential to compensate for the shortcomings of the poorest countries in the internal market, was launched and would later take the form of the Cohesion Funds.

SCHENGEN AREA as of 1 January 2023. Dark blue, EU member states. Lavender: Schengen Area but non-EU members. Yellow:  EU members working towards Schengen implementation. Green: EU & Non-EU members outside Schengen area. Light blue: Non-EU member micro-states but participating de facto in Schengen.

> The second Spanish presidency came in 1995, a crucial time as three new members (Austria, Sweden and Finland) had just joined the Union, and a process of reflection was underway that would lead to the signing of the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997. On 26 March 1995, another of the greatest achievements of the European Community project, the Schengen Area, was put into operation in seven Member States, including Spain. It involved the removal of internal border controls to allow the free movement of people and goods, and is nowadays in force in 27 countries.

During this presidency, or more precisely at the Madrid European Council in December, it was decided to christen the single currency with the name ‘euro’. . .

> . . .In 2002, Spain once again took over the presidency of the Council. [It was its third presidency and came] at a momentous time for the EU, giving the go-ahead for its most important enlargement since its creation, from 15 to 27 members. On 1 January, the very day the Spanish semester started, the euro was introduced in 12 countries, including Spain.

Stemming from the crisis resulting from the 9/11 attacks in the US, Spain included the fight against transnational terrorism among [the] priorities [of its presidency, leading to] . . . the adoption of the European arrest warrant known as the Euro-order.

> The economic crisis, which affected all Eurozone countries, marked the fourth presidency, when Spain set [for its] objective [the promotion] of economic recovery through sustainable growth that would generate employment.

Signing of the Lisbon Treaty by all EU members at the Jeronimos Monastery, Lisbon, 13 December 2007

The entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty [the Treaty of Lisbon gives the EU full legal personality. Therefore, the Union obtains the ability to sign international treaties in the areas of its attributed powers or to join an international organization. Member States may only sign international agreements that are compatible with EU law.] — the last of the major reforms of EU law, on 1 December 2009 — meant that it fell to Spain to be the first to implement many of its provisions. Many of its innovations were related to the development of a Common Foreign and Security Policy, which would allow the EU to amplify its values and interests on the international stage.

The fifth time around: Priorities of the current Spanish presidency


As President of the Government of Spain Pedro Sánchez explained on 15 June, the Spanish presidency has established four priorities for this six-month period.

  • Reindustrialise the EU and ensure its open strategic autonomy.

The international openness of the last seven decades has been of great benefit to the EU and has allowed it to achieve levels of economic growth and social welfare that would have been impossible under protectionism. However, it has also facilitated offshoring processes that have led to the loss of industries in strategic sectors and to excessive dependence on third countries in areas such as energy, health, digital technologies and food. The current geopolitical, technological and environmental changes underway offer the opportunity to reverse this trend.

The aim of Spain’s Council presidency of fostering the development of strategic industries and technologies in Europe may not be a pipe dream. The “notable strength” of the Spanish economy, with the First Deputy Prime Minister Nadia Calviño at the helm of the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Digital Transportation, despite “a particularly complex international context, with intense geopolitical tension, inflationary tensions, a rapid rise in interest rates and volatility in the financial markets” — in Calviño’s own words —  could augur well for achieving that aim.

To achieve this, the Spanish presidency . . . will promote dossiers to foster the development of strategic industries and technologies in Europe, the expansion and diversification of its trade relations and the strengthening of its supply chains, with particular emphasis on the EU-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Summit.

It will also propose a common strategy to ensure the EU’s economic security and global leadership by 2030. . .

  • Advancing ecological transition and environmental adaptation.

For Europeans, curbing climate change and environmental degradation is not only a legal and moral obligation but also a huge opportunity. If well executed, the green transition will drastically reduce dependencies on energy and raw materials, substantially lower electricity bills, make businesses more competitive and create close to one million jobs in this decade alone.

The Spanish presidency will do its utmost to facilitate this transition. . . [by adopting measures] aimed at the EU’s continuing to lead the global fight against climate change and to do so by creating wealth and new opportunities throughout its territory.

  • Promote greater social and economic justice.

Spain’s “Solar Landscape”, an artistic installation in the Europa Building to make the Council of the European Union feel the light of the sun during the six-month Spanish presidency. The avowed aim is to bring the EU closer to its citizens.

Europe needs a more competitive economy, but also a fairer and more united economy. We must ensure that the wealth generated reaches all citizens and serves to improve their opportunities and living conditions.

Therefore, the Spanish presidency will advocate the establishment of common minimum standards for corporate taxation in all Member States and will combat tax evasion by large multinationals, which costs the EU 1.5 GDP points each year. . .

Last, it will push for the extension of workers’ rights in different areas and for vulnerable groups such as children, women suffering from gender-based violence and people with disabilities.

  • Strengthening European unity.

“In a world of geopolitical tensions, the EU must stand united.” (Photo: Mariupol, Ukraine, gutted by Russian bombs)

In a world of uncertainty and rising geopolitical tensions, the EU must stand united. Member States must therefore continue to make progress on integration and develop tools that will enable them to face the major challenges of our time together.

The Spanish presidency will also focus on the further deepening of the internal market, the completion of the banking union and the capital markets union, the consolidation and improvement of common instruments such as the ‘NextGenerationEU’ funds, more efficient and coordinated management of migration and asylum processes, and coordinated support for Ukraine and other neighbouring states.

It will also work for the development of shared identity and values and for a new phase in the development of the European project.

Nonofficial translation
Source: “Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union: What does it involve and what are its priorities?
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Ed’s note: Some links and underscoring, as well as the tile of the article as posted in this article, have been supplied by Guidepost. The original title is “Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union: What does it involve and what are its priorities?”

Links to other sources as supplied:
> Treaty of Amsterdam 1997: 
> Lisbon Treaty,are%20compatible%20with%20EU%20law.

Featured image/Gerd Altmann, Pixabay
Schengen map: ZElsb, CC BY-SA4.0, Wikipedia
Lisbon Treaty/Archiwum Kancelarii Prezydenta RP –, GNU Free Documentation License 1.2 via Wikipedia
Nadia Callvino/Pool Moncloa-Borja Puig Bellacasa
“Solar Landscape”/EU2023ES, CC BY-ND via Flickr
Mariupol/Just Clicks With A Camera, PD via Flickr