The Austrian presidency of the council of the European Union, which started on 1 July 2018, has identified three main fields of action to help tackle the legitimacy crisis that the European Union is facing among citizens.
The new presidency aims to work on creating 'a Europe that protects' to enhance the involvement of citizens in the future of Europe and rebuild trust in the European project.
Its three primary priorities are security and migration, maintaining competitiveness through digitalisation and stability in neighbourhoods.
Security and migration
The presidency aims to strengthen the protection of external and internal borders and make the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) more rigorous and resilient.
Other priorities include reinforcing the common return policy and improving cooperation with countries of origin and transit. It will also push for a more proactive and integrated approach to preventing and fighting extremism and terrorism and supporting deradicalisation.
Innovation and digitalisation
The presidency will support digitalisation and better regulation in the workplace. It will, in addition, promote fair and equal working conditions, fostering access to social protection, equal protection and gender equality.
Strong and stable neighbourhoods
Austria will promote strong relationships with neighbour countries in the Balkans, North Africa and Eastern Europe to enhance stability and security in these regions.
Urban and territorial issues are also a focus of the Austrian presidency. It is keen to make progress on a review of the Territorial Agenda 2020 and implementing the Urban Agenda.
The presidency has set up an Urban Agenda technical preparatory group (UATPG), of which we are a member, to help ensure smooth governance of the agenda at member state level. The first meeting of this group was held in Vienna on 3 July. We are also working with the Austrian presidency to ensure that the Transport and Environment Council meeting in November addresses urban issues.
The new presidency will drive the move towards a sustainable, fair and competitive transport system. Its objectives are to increase the safety of transport and contribute to a sustainable, climate-friendly approach to mobility.