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The Netherlands to hold EU Presidency in first half of 2016

In the first half of 2016 the Netherlands will hold the Presidency of the European Union for the 12th time. The previous Dutch Presidency was in 2004. The EU Presidency meetings in the Netherlands will all take place at Amsterdam’s historical naval dockyard, the Marine Etablissement. These are meetings of ministers and civil servants from all the EU member states.

The Presidency of the European Union rotates among the member states every six months. The country that holds the Presidency prepares and chairs most of the EU meetings in that period. EU meetings are attended by representatives of all 28 member states. The formal meetings of EU ministers take place in either Brussels or Luxembourg, but the Presidency also holds preparatory and informal meetings for member state ministers and civil servants in its own country. These include the meetings of the ministers of finance, economic affairs or foreign affairs. The Netherlands will also organise working group meetings and conferences on subjects that are of common concern to the member states.

Location

The government has decided that all Presidency meetings in the Netherlands will be held at one location. This is different from past Presidencies when meetings were held at different locations around the country. The choice of a fixed location avoids the expense of having to set up and dismantle costly facilities, such as press rooms, communications equipment and interpreting booths. An important consideration, besides expense, is the convenience of a single location for guests, interpreters, journalists and organisers.

The selected location is the Marine Etablissement dockyard in Amsterdam, owned by the Ministry of Defence. The dockyard is in the city centre, right next to the maritime museum (Scheepvaartmuseum). The dockyard features a number of buildings that are suitable for meetings and conferences. The Ministry will gradually be handing over the Marine Etablissement to the municipality of Amsterdam over the next few years. The city will develop the area for residential, commercial and leisure purposes. The EU Presidency is an example of the area’s future role.

Logo

To emphasise the recurring cycle of EU Presidencies, the Netherlands will use the same Presidency logo in 2016 that it used in 2004. The striking logo was designed by Studio Dumbar of Rotterdam.

Presidency, European Commission, European Council and European Parliament

In the EU, the European Commission proposes new legislation. These proposals are jointly discussed by the national governments of the 28 member states (the Council) in meetings that are normally chaired by the rotating Presidency. The European Parliament also debates the proposals. The Council and the Parliament then jointly decide on the details of the final proposal. European Parliament elections will be held in 2014, which will also lead to the appointment of a new European Commission.