On 1 July 2016, Slovakia takes over the six-month Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Programme of the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union is based on four priorities: an economically strong Europe, a modern single market, a sustainable migration and asylum policies and a globally engaged Europe. Based on this, the Slovak Presidency is putting forward its agenda for the period July-December 2016. For more details, visit eu2016.sk

On 30 June 2016, the Slovak Government approved the Programme of the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Slovak Presidency begins at a time when the Union is facing unprecedented challenges: the result of the UK Referendum calls for discussion on the future of the Union, the continuing migration crisis raises questions converning the integrity of the Schengen area, the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels have highlighted weaknesses in the area of internal security and the consequences of the economic and financial crisis are still affecting the economies of the EU Member States. Despite these challenges and growing uncertainty, the Slovak Presidency is putting forward a positive agenda and seeks to promote sustainable solutions.

Road Transport Priorities

The Presidency Memo published by the consultancy Weber Shandwick lists the  priorities of the Slovak Presidency, including those related to transport.

Slovakia is the largest car producer per capita in the world, so it is perhaps fitting that the European Commission be expected to present the Communication on Decarbonising Transport at the start of its Presidency. Closely linked to this will be the above-mentioned Effort Sharing Decision, establishing the non-ETS sector targets, including within transport, in view of the 2030 EU climate and energy goals. These two initiatives will frame the important debate on transport decarbonisation, and the Presidency will have to prepare the respective Council positions.

In road transport, a fundamental dossier will be the Commission’s January proposal on the reform of the type approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles Directive. Here, the Presidency will likely work towards obtaining a general approach in Council before the end of the year. This is, however, a highly politicised file with diverging Member State positions on the market surveillance aspect, making its conclusion under Slovakia’s tenure problematic.

Another important file is the reduction of pollutant emissions from road vehicles, which has been on hold since November 2015 and could finally move forward under Slovakia’s Presidency. Additionally, the Parliamentary Inquiry Committee on emission measurements (EMIS), set up in response to the Volkswagen case, will present its report to plenary in September. It is expected to be further discussed in Council as Member States have voiced the need to close the existing loopholes surrounding the use of defeat devices in passenger cars. In addition, the EMIS report could also inform the work on the previously-mentioned files in this regard.