Since the founding of the CEOE in 1977, and especially since Spain joined what is now the European Union in 1986, we have closely monitored the European legislative and institutional agenda, with a view to providing our members with relevant information on changes in European regulations and in the fabric of business, and to work out positions in line with our priorities and pass them on to European institutions, to BusinessEurope and to our counterparts elsewhere in Europe.
Given these twin goals of providing information to key interlocutors as and when needed, 2023 is, without doubt, a particularly important year in the EU agenda, in which Spain is to take up the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union from 1 July to 31 December, in what will be its fifth turn.
The rotary presidency falls to Spain at a time marked by the end of national and European legislatures. In May 2024 there will be elections to the European Parliament, which will be followed by the renewal of the European Commission for the following five years. This means that as Spain takes up the Trio of Presidencies along with Belgium and Hungary, it must conclude many of the trialogues open for ongoing procedures and must lead key debates on institutional, economic, and geo-strategic matters. This will certainly influence and shape the goals and structure of the incoming EU executive.
In this context, we are aware of how complex the EU legislative process is and how deeply it affects businesses, so at the CEOE we have made this website in the confidence that it will be a useful tool in providing information on current events in Europe, and will serve to bring together position statements of particular interest drawn up by the CEOE, by BusinessEurope and by other interlocutors that we believe may be useful to our members.
To provide a platform for communication between our members, we have also included a section with a calendar of meetings of interest covering not just the agendas of European institutions but also acts and events organised by the CEOE and by our members concerned with the presidency of the Council.
The Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU is a unique opportunity to reinforce the country’s voice in European debates and establish the basis and the guidelines for strategic priorities and policies to be developed during the next European legislative term, so that a boost is given to sectors which are fundamental to the economic fabric of Spain and the rest of Europe, making the EU the best place in the world to set up a business, create, invest, generate wealth and live.
We therefore reiterate our commitment and our willingness to contribute proactively, with a sense of state and the institutional loyalty and pro-EU attitude that characterises Spanish businesses, to help make this country-level challenge a true collective success.
The presidency of the Council rotates among the EU Member States every six-months. turns. Spain’s last presidency of the Council of the EU came in the first half of 2010, and now it will be during the second half of 2023.
During this 6-month period, the presidency chairs meetings at every level in the Council, helping to ensure the continuity of the EU’s work in the Council. Specifically, it has two main tasks: (i) to plan and chair the work of the Council, and (ii) to represent the Council in its relations with other EU institutions, e.g. by raising debates on proposals for legislation and negotiating on behalf of the Council in trialogues with the Parliament and the European Commission. Its role is to reach agreements on legislative files.
The Member States holding the presidency work closely together in groups of three, called “trios“, so that long-term goals can be set (18-monthtime-frames) with a joint programme of topics and key matters to be addressed.
The previous trio comprised France, the Czech Republic, and Sweden (the presidents from the first half of 2022 to the first half of 2023). The current trio is made up of the presidencies of Spain, Belgium and Hungary, coinciding with the end of an institutional cycle in the EU (second half of 2023 to the second half of 2024).
Establishment of business priorities by the CEOE
Taking into account the trend in ongoing legislative dossiers, especially those which are expected to appear in the second half of the year, and the changing context in Europe and internationally, the CEOE has updated its priorities in the face of the EU Council presidency and the end of the legislative cycle in Europe.
The document, entitled “Towards a Strong, Competitive European Union”, is coordinated by the CEOE’s delegation to the EU and the CEOE’s European Union Committee, in close cooperation with the CEOE’s thematic departments and other consultative committees which have produced position statements in their respective areas, and also with the involvement of the ad hoc working group on the Spanish presidency, made up of CEOE associate members.
The Tripartite Social Summit (TSS) is a forum for dialogue between EU institutions at a presidential and ministerial level and inter-sectoral social partners in the EU. It is also attended by country-level partners (in line with the Presidency Trio) and a sectoral representative. The TSS is chaired by the president of the European Council and the president of the European Commission and is held on the eve of European Council (EUCO) meetings in October and March.
The CEOE is entitled to attend three TSS meetings as a country-level partner and as part of the BusinessEurope delegation. This is a key opportunity to convey business messages in coordination with BusinessEurope. Specifically, the CEOE is entitled to take part in the following TSSs: 19 October 2022, 22 March 2023 & 25 October 2023.
The CEOE was also charged with hosting the Council of Presidents (COPRES) of BusinessEurope in Madrid on 1-2 June 2023. That meeting brought together the presidents of all 40 employers’ confederations that represent European employers, who conveyed the priorities of European businesses for the rotating presidency to representatives of the government and of the European Commission in a document entitled the “Madrid Declaration”.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is an EU consultative body made up of representatives of employers’ associations (Group I), workers (Group II) and other civil society organisations (Group III).
The CEOE is part of the Employers’ Group (Group I) and coordinates the Spanish delegation of councillors in this group.
The EESC organises numerous activities regarding the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, including the preparation of exploratory opinions requested by the presidency on matters of mutual interest, in line with the priorities of the presidency, and the participation of EESC representatives at informal meetings of the Council presidency and institutional meetings in the country that holds the rotating presidency.
In this context, the CEOE takes an active part in the priorities of Group I for the Spanish presidency of the Council, in drawing up exploratory opinions requested by the government, organising meetings with Spain’s permanent representation and institutional visits by EESC representatives to Spain, especially those from the employers’ group.EESC https://www.eesc.europa.eu/es