Every six months a different member state holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Holding the Presidency involves mediating and brokering compromises between the 28 EU member states and between EU institutions like the Council, European Commission and European Parliament. The sixth-month Presidency rotates between all the member states. The presiding member state draws up the agenda for the Council and chairs all meetings. Ministers from the presiding member state chair the meetings with their fellow EU ministers (EU Council configurations). Meetings of the European heads of state and government and of European foreign affairs ministers have their own permanent chairs, however.
Each Presidency works closely with the two member states that preceded or will follow it. This partnership is known as the ‘Trio Presidency’.
The trio determines long-term objectives and draws up an agenda of the major issues the Council will tackle over the next 18 months. To this end, each of the three member states draws up its own six-month project. The Netherlands is partnered with Slovakia, which will hold the Presidency from July to December 2016 and Malta, which will hold the Presidency from January to June 2017.