Following the European elections in May 2019, the European Union set a number of priorities that shape the political and policy agenda until 2024. They serve to address the main challenges faced by the EU and its citizens – be they political, economic or social.
The priorities derive from a dialogue between EU leaders, national ministers, EU institutions and the political groups elected to the European Parliament. In June 2019, EU leaders set out their priorities in the EU’s strategic agenda 2019-2024. This serves as inspiration for the European Commission’s political priorities drawn up before formally taking office for a 5-year term.
The European Council brings together the heads of state or government from all EU countries. It sets the political priorities of the EU ahead of the start of each new legislative term of the European Commission and European Parliament. These priorities are collectively called a strategic agenda. They serve as a framework to guide the EU institutions on the priorities and set out how to deliver on them.
The strategic agenda also guides the European Commission’s 5-year political priorities, as set out in its Political Guidelines. The priorities broadly identify the main policies and steps the Commission intends to follow to ensure its political objectives are reached.
The EU institutions and EU countries must work closely together to implement the European Council’s priorities.
Once the European Commission’s priorities are set by the Candidate for President, they are formally presented at the European Parliament at the beginning of its new legislature.
The Political Guidelines form the basis of the annual Commission Work Programme. This sets out the initiatives intended to deliver on the priorities over the following 12 months. Each year, the Council, the Parliament and the Commission agree on their top priorities for the upcoming year, which are set out in an annual Joint Declaration.
Effective control of the EU’s external borders and further developing a comprehensive migration policy. Fighting against terrorism, cross-border and online crime, increasing the EU's resilience against both natural and man-made disasters.
Building a resilient economy by deepening the Economic and Monetary Union, completing the banking and capital markets union, strengthening the international role of the euro, investing in skills and education, supporting Europe’s businesses, embracing the digital transformation, and developing a robust industrial policy.
Investing in green initiatives that improve air and water quality, promote sustainable agriculture and preserve environmental systems and biodiversity. Creating an effective circular economy and a well-functioning EU energy market that provides sustainable, secure and affordable energy. A faster transition to renewables and energy efficiency, while reducing the EU’s dependency on outside energy sources. Implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights.
Building a robust foreign policy with an ambitious neighbourhood policy and a comprehensive partnership with Africa. Promoting global peace, stability, democracy and human rights. Pursuing robust trade in line with multilateralism and the global rules-based international order. Taking greater responsibility for security and defence, while cooperating closely with NATO.
Transforming the EU into a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy, while preserving Europe’s natural environment, tackling climate change and making Europe carbon-neutral and resource efficient by 2050.
Embracing the digital transformation by investing in businesses, research and innovation, reforming data protection, empowering people with the skills necessary for a new generation of technologies and designing rules to match.
Reinforcing the EU economy, while securing jobs and reducing inequalities, supporting businesses, deepening the Economic and Monetary Union and completing the Capital Markets Union.
Strengthening the EU’s voice on the world stage by enhancing our global standing as champions of strong, open and fair trade, multilateralism and a rules-based global order. Enhancing relations with neighbouring countries and partners, as well as building up the EU’s ability to manage crises through civilian and military capabilities.
Upholding fundamental rights and the rule of law as a bastion of equality, tolerance and social fairness. Addressing security risks, protecting and empowering consumers, as well as enhancing a system for legal and safe migration while effectively managing the EU’s external borders, modernising the EU’s asylum system and cooperating closely with partner countries.
Strengthening Europe’s democratic processes by enhancing relations with the European Parliament and national parliaments, protecting EU democracy from external interference, ensuring transparency and integrity throughout the legislative process, as well as engaging more widely with EU citizens in shaping the EU’s future.
The priorities set by the European Council and the European Commission guide the work on EU policies within a political context during a legislative mandate. In parallel, other EU institutions or bodies often set their own priorities to reflect their viewpoints.