The Pre-Presidency conference for the upcoming Dutch presidency of the Council of the European Union took place on 19 and 20 November 2015 in The Hague, the Netherlands. The conference was organised by the Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’ in cooperation with the Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA), and with the support of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Representation of the European Commission in the Netherlands, the European Cultural Foundation, the Municipality of The Hague, Leiden University and the PONT project.
Pre-Presidency conference is TEPSA’s key event, it is organized twice a year before the upcoming, rotating presidency period. The Netherlands will take up the presiding role during the first half of 2016, this will be the 12th time when the country is presiding. The conference looked at the European Challenges and Dutch Priorities for the upcoming presidency.
On the first day of the conference TEPSA hosted a General Assembly, followed by the opening session of the conference and the first panel: ‘Deeper integration& better governance’. The second day of the conference opened with an initially unintended session reflecting on one week after the terrorist attacks in Paris. The panel discussions of the second day focused on the ‘First year of the Commission President Junker’ and the crisis on both Eastern and Southern borders of the EU, including the EU Asylum and Migration challenges. The conference ended with a public event in cooperation with Leiden University where recommendations of TEPSA to the upcoming Presidency were presented to the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr.Bert Koenders. The minister gave a speech on ‘Challenges and Chances for European Cooperation’, which was followed by a question and answer session. The concluding remarks of the conference were given by the TEPSA chairperson Prof.Wolfgang Wessels.