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Slovakia takes on the Council presidency

The Slovak presidency begins on 1 July 2016. Its priorities are driven by three interconnected principles of achieving tangible results, overcoming fragmentation and focusing on the citizen.

During the next 6 months, the presidency will focus on four key areas:

  • economically strong Europe
  • modern single market
  • sustainable migration and asylum policies
  • globally engaged Europe

Slovakia will hold the Council presidency until 31 December 2016 and will be followed by Malta.

Slovakia takes on the Council presidency

The Slovak presidency begins on 1 July 2016. Its priorities are driven by three interconnected principles of achieving tangible results, overcoming fragmentation and focusing on the citizen.

During the next 6 months, the presidency will focus on four key areas:

  • economically strong Europe
  • modern single market
  • sustainable migration and asylum policies
  • globally engaged Europe

Slovakia will hold the Council presidency until 31 December 2016 and will be followed by Malta.

The European Council

The European Council consists of the heads of state or government of the EU's member states, together with its President and the European Commission President. It defines the EU's general political direction and priorities.

The Council of the EU

The Council of the EU represents the member states' governments. Also known informally as the EU Council, it is where national ministers from each EU country meet to adopt laws and coordinate policies.

What is the Council?

The European Council and the Council of the EU are two very closely linked institutions. They have similar names and share the same buildings and staff - the General Secretariat of the Council (GSC). However, they have very different roles and membership. 

In focus

Air quality: EU agrees stricter limits for pollutant emissions

On 30 June 2016 the Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on a directive to reduce emissions of air pollutants.

This new directive sets stricter national limits for the emissions of five pollutants including NOx or ammonia. New, stricter emission limits for each pollutant are set for the period from 2020 to 2029 and from 2030 onwards. 

With these new commitments, the health impact of air pollution is estimated to be reduced by about 50% in 2030 compared to 2005.

Leaders discussed the consequences of the UK referendum

"We are determined to remain united and work in the framework of the EU to deal with the challenges of the 21st century and find solutions in the interest of our nations and peoples," said the 27 leaders in their joint statement after the informal meeting on 29 June. They also called on the UK government to notify the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the EU as quickly as possible. 

The 27 leaders will meet again in September to continue talks on the future of the EU. 

A day earlier, on 28 June, the European Council also focused on the outcome of the UK referendum. Prime Minister David Cameron presented the situation in the country after the vote.

The EU leaders also addressed other pressing issues: migration, external relations and the economic situation.

In focus

Air quality: EU agrees stricter limits for pollutant emissions

On 30 June 2016 the Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on a directive to reduce emissions of air pollutants.

This new directive sets stricter national limits for the emissions of five pollutants including NOx or ammonia. New, stricter emission limits for each pollutant are set for the period from 2020 to 2029 and from 2030 onwards. 

With these new commitments, the health impact of air pollution is estimated to be reduced by about 50% in 2030 compared to 2005.

Leaders discussed the consequences of the UK referendum

"We are determined to remain united and work in the framework of the EU to deal with the challenges of the 21st century and find solutions in the interest of our nations and peoples," said the 27 leaders in their joint statement after the informal meeting on 29 June. They also called on the UK government to notify the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the EU as quickly as possible. 

The 27 leaders will meet again in September to continue talks on the future of the EU. 

A day earlier, on 28 June, the European Council also focused on the outcome of the UK referendum. Prime Minister David Cameron presented the situation in the country after the vote.

The EU leaders also addressed other pressing issues: migration, external relations and the economic situation.