Starting this January, the EU’s most recent member state will preside the Council of the EU until 30th of June 2020. ESN welcomes the first EU-Presidency of Croatia standing under the motto “A Strong Europe in a World of Challenges”.
Croatia has chosen to focus on four key priorities:
- A Europe that develops
- A Europe that connects
- A Europe that protects
- An influential Europe
Important milestones of the Croatian presidency will be to find an agreement on the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, organising the EU-Western Balkans summit and preparing the Conference on the Future of Europe.
For ESN members, a timely agreement on the MFF is paramount to ensure smooth continuity of EU programmes and projects under the new EU budget. A delayed agreement between the Council and the European Parliament could have disruptive effects on local social projects dependant on EU funds such as the ESF+.
“At ESN we will continue to follow up the negotiations on the EU funds which are key for social transformation at local level. Improving the participation of regional and local social services in defining national criteria and funding priorities would also help target funding where it is needed most. Social services directors (ESN members) appreciate the possibility to combine funds. For example, building social care facilities and implementing social inclusion programmes should be accompanied by a common management and reporting framework,”- explains ESN chief executive Alfonso Lara Montero. (Read full article on ESN members meeting with MEPs on ESF+ at the European Parliament)
Info box EU-Presidency: The presidency of the Council of the EU is responsible for driving forward the Council's work on EU legislation, ensuring the continuity of the EU agenda, orderly legislative processes and cooperation among member states. To do this, the presidency must act as an honest and neutral broker. (source)