The Presidency of the Council of the European Union is held by Belgium from 1 January to 30 June 2024. It will develop its activities around 6 priority areas under the motto “protect, strengthen, prepare”, aiming at working towards better protecting European citizens, strengthening the cooperation, and preparing a shared future.

Belgian Presidency is framed within the trio of Presidencies made up of Spain, Belgium and Hungary. It works to achieve the long-term goals and the common agenda agreed for the 18-month period from July 2023 to December 2024.

Priorities of the Belgian Presidency

  • Reinforcing the social and health agenda. The Presidency will seek to strengthen social dialogue at all levels, promote fair labour mobility, mental health at work as well as access to sustainable social protection. It aims to strengthen the social dimension of the European semester and to promote a framework conducive to the development of the social economy. It will also advocate for increased political actions in order to guarantee access to decent and affordable housing for all. Furthermore, the Presidency will support the evaluation of the EU’s crisis preparedness and work to better address unmet medical needs.
  • Defending rule of law, democracy, and unity. The Presidency will strengthen the empowerment and inclusion of citizens as well as will foster democratic values, promoting the joint work at different levels of government. It will also commit to the enlargement of the EU while preparing the Union’s policies, resources, and decision-making structures in view of future accessions.
  • Strengthening EU’s competitiveness. The Presidency will work to strengthen the EU’s internal market and industrial future and continue the work to complete the capital markets union and the energy union. Particular attention will be given to enhancing the economic security of the Union, reducing harmful dependencies, and promoting technological leadership in critical sectors.
  • Pursuing a green and just transition. The Belgian Presidency will strive to enhance the Union’s circular economy and adaptive and preparedness capacities, promoting also sustainable water management.
  • Protecting people and borders. The Presidency aims to address all remaining legislative files associated with the new European pact on migration and asylum and will work to strengthen the external dimension of migration and asylum, especially by working closely with EU’s African partners. It will also focus on the fight against organised crime and the strengthen the European defence technological and industrial base.
  • Promoting a global Europe. The Presidency will vigorously pursue the efforts made by the EU to strengthen its resilience and autonomy and defend its interests and values. In line with the 2030 Agenda, the Presidency will promote health care system strengthening as a basis to reach universal health coverage.

Roma equality and inclusion and EU Funds in the programme of the Presidency

The Belgian Presidency programme does not specifically mention any activities or initiatives related to the Roma population, but there are specific relevant elements concerning this group, such as initiatives to prevent in-work poverty and labour market segmentation, work on the Council conclusions on inclusive societies for young people, or putting access to decent and affordable housing for all at the top of the European agenda, among others. On the other hand, activities related to cohesion policy funds and other EU funds need to be closely followed up.

Cohesion policy

During its term, the Belgian Presidency will lead political debates on the future of Cohesion policy after 2027. The Presidency will prepare Council conclusions on the matter building on the 9th report on the Cohesion policy that will be presented by the Commission.

EU Funds

The Belgian Presidency will guide the Council’s work towards early detection and correction of economic and social imbalances, both within and among Member States. It will also lead the Council’s examination of the Commission’s independent evaluation report on the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), taking into account the REPowerEU initiative. The goal will be to evaluate the extent to which objectives have been achieved, the efficiency of the RRF’s resource use, and the added value of the EU approach. Under the Belgian Presidency, the Council will also continue to monitor RRF implementation, including payment requests.

Moreover, the Presidency will assess the continued relevance of financing instruments, such as NextGenerationEU and the European instrument for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE).

The Presidency will finalise the mid-term review of the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework under the of the General Affairs Council. It will also organise a conference on the future of the EU budget, as well as an expert conference on performance-informed budgeting.

Employment and social policy

The Belgian Presidency will advance any remaining work on the directive on improving working conditions for platform workers, the revision of the EU social security coordination regulations, the introduction of a European disability card, the Equal Treatment Directive, and the directives on standards for equality bodies.

The Presidency will also support progress on the non-legislative proposals on mental health, framework conditions for the social economy, a reinforced quality framework for traineeships, and digitalisation of social security.

In addition, it will work and invest in skills and lifelong learning, hosting the OECD Skills Summit and building upon the momentum generated during the European Year of Skills.

Regarding the social dimension of the economic governance framework, the Presidency will work to ensure the European Semester can effectively monitor and rectify social imbalances while promoting upward convergence, multilateralism, and dialogue with vital stakeholders, including social partners. The Tripartite Social Summit to be held in March 2024 could be an opportunity to further address this question.

To ensure policies remain grounded in reality, the Belgian Presidency will effort to enhance the accuracy, reliability, and relevance of statistics in key areas (as employment and social affairs, lifelong learning, gender equality and non-discrimination or the social economy).

The Presidency will contribute to the reassessment of the temporary Support instrument to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE). To further empower Europe’s workforce, the Presidency will emphasise the importance of social dialogue, including through a Social Partner Summit co-organised with the Commission.

Education and youth

The Belgian Presidency will work towards the achievement and further development of the European Education Area (EEA), strengthening the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training. The Presidency will promote evidence-informed policy-making, practice and partnerships in the EEA. It will prepare Council conclusions on that topic with a view to enhancing the quality and equity of education and training systems.

The Presidency will work on the adoption of a Council recommendation aimed at updating the current EU learning mobility framework, will work on the Council conclusions on inclusive societies for young people, will conduct mid-term evaluations on the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027 and reflect on Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps 2021-2027. It also intends to evaluate and update the European and international policy agenda on children, youth and children’s rights.

Social inclusion and fight against poverty and discrimination

A principal objective of the Belgian Presidency will be to consolidate the European Pillar of Social Rights, working towards an interinstitutional Declaration to be signed at La Hulpe. It will also push for the attainment of the Porto targets for employment, skills, and poverty reduction by 2030.

To prevent in-work poverty and labour market segmentation, the Belgian Presidency will propose further initiatives within the Council Recommendation on access to social protection scope, such as improving monitoring and better defining adequacy measurement and transparency requirements.

Moreover, the Presidency will continue to push for the implementation of the Council’s recommendations on adequate minimum income, the European Child Guarantee, and the efforts of the European Platform on Combatting Homelessness.

The Belgian Presidency will continue to support the development of the social economy as a lever for social innovation and economic transition. It will host a high-level conference on the implementation of the European Social Economy Action Plan.

Finally, it will follow up on the implementation of the Anti-Racism Action Plans.

Decent housing

Related to the precarious situation faced by vulnerable households and given the EU’s and Member States’ commitment to guaranteeing access to decent and affordable housing for all, the Presidency plans to bring this issue to the forefront of the European agenda.


The Presidency will emphasise the importance of strengthening the EU’s resilience to future health threats by reinforcing crisis management, supporting healthcare systems, and improving the security of medicines supply.

The Presidency will take a cross-cutting approach, highlighting the significance of health in all policies, among others, mental wellbeing at work, equitable access to health care and health products, global health and research and development for pandemic preparedness.



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