From Spain to Belgium: Presidency returning to the heart of the EU

The Spanish Presidency of the EU Council marked the commencement of the new Trio and served as the last presidency in which the incumbent institutional cycle worked in full capacity before the scheduled European Parliament elections in June 2024. Spain, under the caretaker government for the term, inherited the persistent challenges of the previous Trio. Expectations from Madrid were high, as it had to strengthen European unity on Ukraine, in addition to responding to the unfolding conflict in Israel and the crisis in north Kosovo. At the same time, the expectations in the Western Balkans remain high, particularly following Charles Michel’s declaration of the EU’s readiness to expand by 2030. Thus, the key questions arise: Have Spain’s efforts made Europe “closer” and more strategically autonomous? How did Spain manage to navigate the Presidency with a caretaker government and long government formation influence the agenda? What steps did Spain take to push the enlargement policy forward?

Besides highlighting the key achievements of the Spanish Council Presidency, this panel will aim to uncover how Belgium will steer the EU in the next six months. With the Presidency baton passing to the heart of the EU, Belgium will inherit many challenges faced by previous presidencies, such as the consequences of the war in Ukraine and the crisis in north Kosovo. Since Russia attacked Ukraine, Belgium has been standing firmly with Kyiv, providing political, military, economic and humanitarian aid. Additionally, it was announced that enlargement will become a priority of the Belgian presidency. What will Belgium do to increase support for Ukraine? How will the upcoming elections for the European Parliament influence the Presidency’s agenda and actions? How will the Presidency position itself towards the enlargement policy and the relevant proposals on gradual integrations, such as the Staged accession model?


  • H.E. Tanja Miščević, Caretaker Minister for European Integration of the Republic of Serbia
  • H.E. Raúl Bartolomé Molina, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain to the Republic of Serbia
  • H.E. Cathy Buggenhout, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to the Republic of Serbia
  • Dirk Lorenz, Head of the Political Section, Delegation of European Union in Serbia
  • Milena Mihajlović, Programme Director, CEP

The panel will be moderated by Strahinja Subotić, Programme Manager and Senior Researcher of CEP.

The working language of this event is English. If you wish to attend the event, please register. Only the registered participants will be able to attend.

This event is held within the series of traditional gatherings initiated by CEP and the EU Info Centre six years ago. Its overarching objective is to instigate a substantive debate on EU priorities, presenting insights from the point of countries presiding over the Council of the EU — both outgoing and upcoming. Focused on current topics within the accession process, this biannual occasion serves as a platform for advancing the discourse on Serbia’s EU integration. Attended by representatives from the diplomatic corps, state institutions, and civil society organisations, the event consistently attracts widespread media coverage.




11:00 - 12:30