Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Understanding the EU Governance Framework

The Council of the European Union – not to be confused with the European Council – is at the heart of European governance, affecting each individual member state through its policies. Comprising ministers from national governments, the Council negotiates EU laws, coordinates policies in key areas, develops foreign and security policies, concludes international agreements, and approves the EU budget.

The presidency of the Council of the European Union rotates every six months, with close cooperation between the three successive member states, the so-called trio presidency. From 1 January 2024 up to 30 June 2024, Belgium will assume the role of the presidency. Thereby, Belgium is succeeding Spain’s presidency, passing it on to Hungary afterwards.

For more in-depth information on the Council of the EU and its workings, visit the dedicated page on the website of the Council of the EU.

Belgian Presidency

As president of the Council, Belgium will lead the EU agenda and promote cooperation among member states. The overarching goal is to strengthen the European Union and make progress in critical areas such as climate change, economic growth, and social cohesion.

Under the motto “Protect, Strengthen, Prepare”, the Belgian Presidency outlines six priorities:

  • Defending the rule of law, democracy, and unity
  • Strengthening competitiveness
  • Pursuing a green and just transition
  • Reinforcing social and health agendas
  • Protecting people and borders
  • Promoting a global Europe.

Feel free to visit the official website of the Belgian Presidency for detailed information on the priorities and initiatives.

Shaping Sustainability in the EU Presidency

Commitment turned into impact

VITO's DNA consists of research and innovation aimed at sustainability, based on a deep understanding of people and their environment, coupled with technological insights and digital applications. Positive transition thinking, system innovation and collaboration are central to our approach. This is how we contribute to a stronger competitive position of both Flanders in Europe, Europe in the world, and the sustainability transition worldwide.

Our starting point is inclusiveness, as we include everyone in this sustainability transition. This is how we create maximum impact in 3 domains:

  • An economy based on sustainable resource use (materials, chemical processes, water and energy).
  • Innovative solutions that combat further global warming and meanwhile help to cope with the impact of climate change and act resiliently when a crisis occurs.
  • Ensuring affordable and viable solutions in a healthy living environment for every citizen.

VITO’s contribution to the Belgian Presidency

As the Flemish research institution for innovation in sustainable development, VITO will actively participate in events across various priority areas during the Belgian Presidency. Under this presidency, a total of 530 informal and 2000 formal meetings are scheduled. Consult our events calendar below to find out where VITO will be present!

(Read on below the events calendar)

Event Location Start End Representing VITO

Belgian Renovation Week

Brussels Mo 15/01/2024 Thu 18/01/2024 Maarten De Groote

Meetings and workshops: Tackling PFAS pollution & Launch Knowledge Center Innovative Remediation Solutions

Antwerp - Congres Centre Vestar Thu 01/02/2024 Fri 02/02/2024

Johan Gemoets, Patrick Berghmans, Stefan Voorspoels, Jelle Hofman

Research to Reality: Digital Solutions to European Challenges

Brussels Mo 05/02/2024 Tue 06/02/2024 Irena Kondratenko, Pieter Van Den Steen
European Mission Forum Brussels Wed 06/03/2024 Thu 07/03/2024 Yves De Weerdt

Informal meeting of competitiveness ministers (Internal market and industry)

Genk - Thor Park Thu 08/02/2024 Fri 09/02/2024

Inge Neven, Walter Eevers, Leen Govaerts, Bert Gysen

Conference for mayors on translating the EU Green Deal into local targets

Brussels Tue 12/03/2024 Fri 15/03/2024

Birgit Vandevelde, Han Vandevyvere, Tatiana Pasquel Garcia (tbc)

Flanders Technology & Innovation by Wintercircus (EU Presidency-label)


Fri 15/03/2024

Thu 21/03/2024

Nathalie Lambrechts

The European open science cloud (EOSC) and national/regional open science policies

Brussels Tue 16/04/2024 Thu 18/04/2024

Bart Dooms (tbc)

The convergence of technologies enabling R&I for the healthcare of the future

Brussels Tue 28/05/2024 Wed 29/05/2024

Gökhan Ertaylan, Tina Smets, Nathalie Lambrechts,  Elfi Goesaert

Informal Event Biomonitoring + PARC

Brussels Tue 04/06/2024 Wed 05/06/2024

Eva Govarts

Workshop: A futureproof Waste Framework Directive


Thu 13/06/2024

Fri 14/06/2024

Ive Vanderreydt

European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) / Annual Presidency Conference on Research Infrastructures


Ils Reusen, Heleen De Wever, Jan Theunis (tbc)

Circular Economy conference:

Sustainable resources management and Circular Economy

Brussels Wed 17/04/2024  

Philip Marynissen, Yoko Dams, Waldo Galle, Michiel Ritzen, Carolin Spirinckx, Ive Vanderreydt

Water Conference: Speeding up to a water resilient Europe. Fast tracks for an EU Blue Deal

Leuven Tue 12/03/2024  

Dirk Halet

Seminar New European Bauhaus

Brussels Tue 23/04/2024  

Han Vandevyvere (tbc)

FTI Hasselt (EU Presidency label)

Hasselt Sun 17/03/2024 Thu 21/03/2024

Dietrich Van der Weken, Frans Snijkers

Through these initiatives, VITO aims to reinforce its commitment to sustainability, contribute to the green transition, and play a meaningful role in shaping a resilient and sustainable future for Europe.

For a comprehensive overview of the official and informal Council meetings, please consult the Belgian EU Presidency’s events page.

Stay tuned!

Keep an eye on this page to stay up to date with the latest insights and developments on VITO’s activities related to the Belgian Presidency. Also, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, X, Facebook and Instagram to not miss a single update!