What is the presidential government

The Council Presidency and the European Parliament

The member state that presides over the Council is also responsible, among other things, for relations between the Council and the other institutions of the European Union. Of course, the Commission and the European Parliament are of particular importance here. Above all, the position of Parliament has become more and more important in the 55 years of its existence, which is why the respective Council Presidents must find themselves increasingly talking to Parliament.

The European Parliament as co-legislator

The Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice Treaties, in particular, expanded the co-decision procedure, in which the European Parliament and the Council are an equal partner in the legislative process. The Lisbon Treaty made the codecision procedure the "ordinary legislative procedure". In addition, the scope of this procedure has been expanded from 45 to almost twice the number of authorizations to act. This gave parliament even more influence. Against this background, the Council Presidency is obliged to cultivate relations with Parliament, to take its positions seriously and to bring them into the Council's discussions.

Reporting, Negotiation, and Compromise

At the start of its term of office, the government that assumed the presidency presents a work plan for the next six months. This is aligned with the eighteen-month program of the Trio Council Presidency. During the term of office, the Council Presidency is obliged to inform Parliament about the content and results of Council meetings. Usually this happens at least once a month during the Strasbourg plenary session. In addition, the ministers of the presiding government are also regularly invited to parliament for question times.

Above all, the Council Presidency has the task of leading possible negotiations between Parliament and the Council on legislative projects. If, for example, no consensus can be found between Council and Parliament on a legislative proposal within the framework of codecision even after the 2nd reading, the Council Presidency convenes the Conciliation Committee in coordination with the President of the European Parliament, which is composed equally of members of Parliament and the Council . At the end of each term of office, the Council Presidency must submit a report to Parliament on the work carried out.

Overall, the relationship between Parliament and the Council Presidency is characterized by a great willingness to communicate. Contacts between the member state concerned and the European Parliament are intensified even before the start of the term of office. To this end, for example, parliamentary committees travel to the respective states and exchange ideas with the government and their colleagues from the national parliaments about the program of the presidency and the respective positions.

Before the start of the German Council Presidency in 2007, delegations from the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Employment and Social Affairs Committee, the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee and the Budget Committee visited Berlin. In the run-up to the German Council Presidency, in December 2006, the Conference of Presidents, which consists of the group chairmen and the President of the European Parliament, came to the German capital for high-level discussions.