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Main Events during Slovenian Presidency

European Council meetings

The European Council is the supreme political body of the EU. It consists of heads of state or government of EU member states and the President of the European Commission. European Council meetings (usually four per year) are chaired by the head of state or government of the presiding country, and receive exceptional publicity; on the one hand because they are attended by Europe's most notable political figures, and on the other, because of the important and often contentious issues negotiated. The European Council does not pass legislation, but takes political decisions aimed at strengthening the development of the Union, defines general political guidelines and coordinates positions on international issues; it is the body which defines the EU's political policies at the highest level.

Informal ministerial meetings

It is customary for the country holding the EU Presidency to organise informal meetings at which ministers discuss topical EU-related issues without arriving at formal conclusions or decisions. The meetings enable those taking part to engage in a free exchange of ideas without fixed agendas or strict guidelines. One purpose of such meetings is to create a better framework for EU decision-making on a broad range of difficult issues, thus supplementing the Council's regular activities.

EU-Third Country Meetings

As the importance and influence of the EU in international politics grows, the international representation of the EU has evolved into a key task of the Presidency. The EU has relations with countries in all the regions in the world. On the basis of the EU Commitments vis-à-vis third countries, each Presidency organises several meetings with different non-EU countries and regions at different levels. Meetings with third countries can be organised either in Troika format or at the level of Summits, which are attended by Heads of State and/or Government of all 27 EU Member states.


The European Union also attends summits with its major partners, such as the United States of America, Japan, Canada and, lately, Russia, India and China. It also holds regional discussions with countries of the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Although in the past these relations focused mainly on trade, they have recently expanded to include investment, business cooperation, finance, energy, science and technology, environmental protection, and political issues, such as the global fight against terrorism, international crime, illegal drug trafficking and human rights.


A Troika represents the EU in dealings with non-member states. It is comprised of a representative of the country holding the Presidency, a representative of the European Commission, and a representative of the Secretary-General of the Council, in his capacity as High Representative for the common foreign and security policy; and on the invitation of the current Presidency also includes incoming Presidency – the member state, which is next in line for the Presidency.



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Date: 26.05.2008